Not a good day to be a Rhinocerous Auklet! I witnessed a very socially active group of Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales repeatedly harassing these birds – mouthing them and slapping them. At least 3 juvenile rhinoceros auklets had a bad day and, since these are diving birds, they cannot “alight” and escape the teeth and fins below them. Yet, I believe they survived.
I personally had never seen such a prolonged display of this transient killer whale play behaviour before. In fact, I had never seen transient killer whales socialize quite so rambunctiously! This incredibly socially active group of 20+ transients (including the T010s, T034s, T035s, T037s, T046Bs, and T146s) took about 1.5 hours to travel only +/- 4.5 km (2.5 nautical miles) – slapping birds, rolling over one another, tail slapping, vocalizing and breaching along the way.
This story was adapted from a blog post from The Marine Detective. Read the full blog post here