Gray Whales (Eschrichtius robustus)
Gray whales are a coastal baleen whales usually seen over the continental shelf. During migration most animals pass within about a mile of the shoreline, and gray whales occasionally come into Puget Sound. Gray whales spend April-November in their Arctic feeding grounds, and December-April in Mexican breeding areas. Between October and February the species migrates south along the West Coast, returning north between February and July. This round trip migration of 7,400-12,400 miles every year is believed to be the longest of any mammal.
The gray whale is unique among cetaceans as a bottom-feeder that rolls onto its side, sucking up sediment from the seabed. Bottom-dwelling organisms live in this sediment, and stay in the baleen as water and silt are filtered out. Gray whales feed in shallow waters, usually 150-400 feet deep. Adults can consume 1-1½ tons of food per day during peak feeding periods.
To report a dead, injured or stranded marine mammal, please call: 1-800-853-1964