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Other Whales | Fins

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The fin whale is the second largest creature on earth after the blue whale. It is common off eastern North America from spring to fall.

The coloration of the fin whale is unique the right side of the animal's jaw and baleen are yellowish-white while the left side of the jaw and baleen is black. Some fin whales have grey bands called chevrons behind their heads and variations in the shape and colors, together with scars and the shape of the dorsal fin can be used to identify individuals.

On calm days the tight tall blow of the fin whale is easily distinguished from the more bushy spout of the humpbacks it is sometimes seen feeding with. Dolphins are another common travelling companion for fin whales as they appear to enjoy riding the "bow wave" of this animal which has been described as the "Greyhound of the Seas."

These large, sleek animals are not well studied. We know they were the basis of the whaling industry for many parts of eastern North America in the early 20th century and while their numbers are considered reduced, they are still frequently seen.

The fin whale photos on this site include animals that are distinguishable as individuals. It will be useful to determine if these same animals go to the same coastal areas year after year. If you find yourself off Witless Bay/Bay Bulls or in Trinity Bay please look for these individuals and send us their photographs.

We welcome submissions of any fin whale photos where markings and coloration may allow for the recognition of individuals.

In Trinity/Bonavista Bay the (outstanding) local zodiac tour operator has started to formally collect useful fin whale photographs and has joined the Atlantic Whales team in contributing to the scientific study of these whales in the North Atlantic. Check out Shawna Prince's Article (our Whale Report Number 6).


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