Rare and Mysterious Beaked Whales Spotted off California’s Monterey Coast

The San Francisco Chronicle reported:

The Central California coast has to be one of the best places in the world to spot whales; humpbacks, grays, orcas and massive blue whales all make their way through the area at different times of year. But chances are you’ve never seen — or maybe never even heard of — Baird’s beaked whales, more than two dozen of which were spotted off the coast of Monterey Bay Wednesday.

“This is the largest group of beaked whales I have seen over the last 30 years and I have only seen this species of whale about 10 times in my life,” said Nancy Black, marine biologist with Monterey Bay Whale Watch.

The whales, also known as giant beaked whales, are named for their — you guessed it — giant beaks. They have bulbous heads and long beaks that make them look somewhat similar to a dolphin, except they can grow to 42 feet long as adults.

Baird’s beaked whales are rarely seen on whale-watching ventures. They’re a deepwater species of whales that can hold their breath for long periods of time, lingering underwater for up to an hour as they feed on deep-sea fish and squid, explained Black. They’re usually found at depths of around 3,300 feet and rarely swim in shallow waters, according to the American Cetacean Society.

Read the full story here.

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