DFO Research Scientist, Dr. Hilary Moors-Murphy, studies and monitors whales in Eastern Canada.
She will help you identify these incredibly large whales.
Blue Whales are an endangered species.
Blue Whales occur throughout the North Atlantic Ocean and are most often seen in eastern Canada in spring, summer and fall. These whales have a huge blowhole and can often be spotted from a distance by their tall, straight blow. When Blue Whales come to the surface, we see their blow first, then their back, and then their small dorsal fin. Blue Whales can be easily distinguished from other large whales by their mottled blue-grey colour. This lighter colour can appear light blue underwater.
These whales also have a small dorsal fin located far down their back. Growing up to 30 meters in length, Blue Whales are the largest creatures to ever live on Earth.
Please help DFO monitor Blue Whales and report all sightings.
Northern Bottlenose Whales off the eastern Coast of Nova Scotia and southern coast of Newfoundland are endangered.
Though they resemble Bottlenose Dolphins, Northern Bottlenose Whales are in fact large toothed whales, belonging to the family Ziphidae, or the beaked whales.
Adults are 8-10 meters long or up to 30 feet. They have prominent, bottle-shaped beaks. Their color ranges from light to dark grey to brown. They also have rounded dorsal fins about two-thirds of the way down their backs. Their blow is small and bushy.
Northern Bottlenose Whale calves, or babies, tend to be darker in color. The females and younger males have rounded foreheads. Older males have flat white foreheads... … and their foreheads get whiter with age. When Northern Bottlenose Whales surface, their forehead and blow are seen first and then their dorsal fin. They rarely raise their flukes, or tail, when diving.
Like other beaked whales, Northern Bottlenose Whales do not have a notch in the middle of their tail flukes. Northern Bottlenose Whales tend to be found in deep water areas. Submarine canyon habitats off the Eastern Coast of Nova Scotia are especially important to Northern Bottlenose Whales. These whales are frequently found in the Gully, Shortland and Haldimand canyons of the Eastern Scotian Shelf; however, they may also appear in other areas off the coasts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
Please help DFO monitor Northern Bottlenose Whales and report all sightings.
Sowerby’s Beaked Whales are a species of Special Concern.
Submarine canyon habitats off of Nova Scotia are important to Sowerby’s Beaked Whales. These whales are regularly found in the Gully, Shortland and Haldimand canyons of the Eastern Scotian Shelf. Sowerby’s beaked whales are a type of beaked whale with a long beak.
They range from light to dark grey in color and some have long white scars along their backs. They also have rounded dorsal fins about two-thirds of the way down their backs. The blow of this animal is very small and usually not visible.
Sowerby’s Beaked Whale Calves, or babies, have shorter, darker beaks. The females do not have exposed teeth. The males usually have exposed teeth in their lower jaw and scarring along their back.
Adult Sowerby’s beaked whales can be up to five meters in length. When Sowerby’s Beaked Whales come to the surface, we see their beaks first, and then their dorsal fin. They rarely raise their flukes, or tails, when diving.
Please help DFO monitor Sowerby’s Beaked Whales and report all sightings. Remember to provide important details about your sighting, including the number and type of whales seen, the date and time, and the location, such as your latitude and longitude.
When possible, please share your photos and video as well.
Please call 1-844-800-8568 or email XMARWhaleSightings@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.
If you see entangled, injured or dead whales, please contact the Marine Animal Response Society as soon as possible at 1-866-567-6277, or VHF Channel 16, or email email@example.com.
Video/photos courtesy of Whitehead Lab, Dalhousie University, Dr. Hilary Moors-Murphy, Hanna Wood and Catalina Gomez