Sightings and Movements of Humpback Whales in Puget Sound, Washington

Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeanliae) were some of the most common large cetaceans in the inland waters of Washinton, including Puget Sound, in the early 1900’s (Scheffer and Slipp 1948). They were heavily hunted in the eastern North Pacific from early 1900’s through 1965 (Rice 1974, 1978). A whaling station at Bay City, Grays Harbor, Washington, processed 1933 humpback whales caught along the coasts of Oregon and Washington from 1911 to 1925 (Scheffer and Slipp 1948) and 800 humpback whales were caught along the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and processed at Coal Harbor from 1948 to 1965 (Pike and MacAskie 1969). Humpback whales were common in the Strait of Georgia, just north of Puget Sound, where a small number of humpback whales were taken commercially in the winter of 1907-1908 (Webb 1988). There have been few sightings of humpback whales in Puget Sound, however in the last 20 years; Everitt et al. (1980) reported two sightings in Puget Sound in May 1976 and September 1978 and Osborne et al. (1988) reported a third sighting in June 1986. We report on sightings and movements of at least two different humpback whales in Puget Sound in June and July of 1988.


Calambokidis, J., and G.H. Steiger. 1990. Sightings and Movements of Humpback Whales in Puget Sound, Washington. Northwestern Naturalist 71: 45-49.

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