Bowhead Whale (Balaena mysticetus) Feeding near Point Barrow, Alaska, During the 1985 Spring Migration

Geoffry M. Carroll, John C. George, Lloyd F. Lowry, Kenneth O. Coyle


Examination of stomach contents and behavioral observations showed conclusively that bowhead whales were feeding in the Point Barrow area during the spring of 1985. All three bowheads harvested near the village of Barrow had over five litres of pelagic zooplankton (calanoid copepods and euphausiids) in their stomachs. Over 60 whales were observed during the period 26 May through 6 June diving repeatedly under the landfast ice and feeding in an area 11.2 km southwest of Point Barrow. Observers recorded times for dive, surfacing and respiration intervals for these whales. The recorded times were significantly different from those of bowhead whales migrating past Point Barrow in the spring and from bowheads, whose major activity was feeding, recorded in the Canadian Beaufort Sea during the summer and fall.

Key words: Balaena mysticetus, Point Barrow, feeding, bowhead whale, behavior, copepod,  euphausiid, respiration, spring


Animal behaviour; Animal food; Animal migration; Animal respiration; Biological sampling; Bowhead whales; Copepoda; Euphausiacea; Internal organs; Necropsy; Barrow, Point, waters, Alaska; Alaskan Beaufort Sea

Full Text:



Copyright (c)