Why Do Humpbacks Tail Lob? – 7/6/21

Why do Humpbacks Tail Lob? There are many reasons for this spectacular surface behaviour and today it was all about keeping the area around them clear from other whales. Interpreting the Language of the Whales™ is important during our interactions to better understand the behaviours we are observing.

Today there were many whales within Flinders Bay, over forty individuals and counting as multiple pods began to converge towards each other.

Protective males would begin tail lobbing to defend the female they were travelling with as even lone travellers were warning other whales not to come into their reactionary distance. An explosion of energy erupted as double head lunging and breaching began and Humpback Whales around us began to scatter.

Soon we could see why as a competition pod began to form as four whales grouped together and the rumblings of a comp pod unfolded. It was the perfect opportunity for Grace to launch her drone and capture a few moments of the energy from a different perspective.

The twisting and turning often involved with these types of pods doesn’t always result in the images Grace is aiming to capture for the Fat Whales Project with not many relaxed, calm whales at their straightest close to the surface.

Instead the boys jostled to get close to the female which resulted in many white bellies and twists in their enthusiasm to push each other away. Further tail lobs throughout the bay were a great example and reason why this behaviour is performed as most of the other Humpback Whale pods did not want those bachelor males near them.

A powerful behaviour which can be used to protect a whales preferred reactionary distance from other individuals. The local Bottlenose Dolphins also visited us today with a lovely greeting as they raced towards our bow.

-Whale Watch Western Australia

This post was adapted from a blog, read the original here

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