[MARMAM] Whale-Seabird interactions: whales ingesting seabirds

Trevor Haynes th_ooo at yahoo.ca
Sun Dec 21 13:41:27 PST 2008

Hi All,
A topic for those who might be interested in cetacean-seabird interactions. We are just concluding a study focused on seabird forage flocks in southeast Alaska.
We found that humpbacks often feed at seabird forage flocks,
targeting the capelin that the flocks have trapped at the surface. We
noted lunge feeding humpbacks ingesting seabirds during these feeding events. Given
the relatively high frequency with which humpbacks were found feeding at forage
flocks in our study area, there seemed to be a high potential for
seabirds to be taken incidentally by whales. This sparked our interest
in tracking down documented instances of whales ingesting seabirds or
seabirds turning up in whale fecal samples.

We've tracked down a few sightings of seabirds being ingested
by whales from scientists in the Pacific. Recently, on a seabird
listserv, there has been discussion on this topic. It generated a lot
of interest and helped track down more sightings. I'm hoping that the MARMAM community can add more sightings of seabird ingestion or of seabirds in cetacean
fecal matter and generate more discussion on the topic. Considering there are regions such as SE Alaska experiencing an increase in whale populations, seabird-cetacean interactions have the potential to occur more frequently.

Trevor Haynes

Oregon State University

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
Email: th_ooo at yahoo.ca

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