Baby humpback whales “whisper” in little grunts and squeaks to communicate with their mothers, according to expert marine biologists and scientists who have studied the sounds of these little ones. The infant whales’ quiet noises keep mom and baby connected, without drawing the attention of dangerous predators.
The recordings, described in the journal, Functional Ecology, are the first ever made with devices attached directly to the calves.
Listen to a whale calf audio clip HERE.
“When they’re born, these whales are around 5 meters long,” says Simone Videsen at Aarhus University in Denmark, who notes that this is “pretty big considering it’s a baby.” Calves must travel with their mothers for thousands of miles during an annual migration to the food-rich waters of the Antarctic. Exactly what happens during that period is still somewhat of a mystery.
“These early life stages of wild whales are so elusive because they’re an aquatic animal,” Videsen explains. “We can’t follow them around all the time to see what they’re doing.” However, she and some colleagues recently were able to track eight baby whales, using special sound and movement recorders. Attached via suction cups that adhere to the whale’s skin, they’re still not 100% effective in staying stuck. “It can stay there for about a day and then it falls off,” Videsen says.