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California Gray Whale Migration

  • What is a California Gray WhaleMigrationFeedingWhaling | BehaviorCalving

    Migration Map


    Many whales migrate south for the winter, especially those that feed in northern waters. For the gray whale, the journey begins in the frigid waters of the Chukchi and Bering Seas. The whale spends the summer and a few fall months in the arctic waters before heading south.

    Around mid to late fall, the whales start their 5000 mile journey south to Baja California. Since whales travel close to the coast, many people enjoy going out on boats to view them. The gray whales are heading south for two reasons: shelter and breeding.

    Winter Habitat

    Whale Winter Habitat Map

    The lagoons in Baja California provide the whales with calm, warm water. This makes for an easier winter than the rough northern seas. The shallow waters provide an excellent habitat for birthing. The whales will spend the entire winter here taking care of their young before departing the following March or April.

    Each spring, the gray whales and their new young head back to their feeding grounds. The three month journey will bring them back to the Chukchi and Bering Seas. The whales will stay there until the next fall. The year long process will begin all over again starting in October.

Additional references for the Gray Whale

Monterey Bay Whale Watch
Whale Blowing Audio

Original Authors (June 1992)

Lisa Angle – Richard Asplund – Peter Ostrander
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, California 93407

Additional Updates and Maintenance

Revised in HTML (January 1995) – Java (July 1995)
Richard Asplund
San Luis Obispo County Office of Education
San Luis Obispo, California 93405

Converted to WordPress (November 2017)
Martin Williams
San Luis Obispo County Office of Education
San Luis Obispo, California 93405

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