Just Hanging Around

I'm polishing up the humpback whale presentation I gave in China recently, adding a few things, rearranging some slides, translating to Japanese, etc., in preparation for my upcoming presentation in Tokyo on 17 January.

One of the images I've added is this one from the 2014 season, of a humpback whale calf mimicking her mother:

humpback whale calf mimicking her mother, tonga
Humpback whale calf mimicking her mother (License image)

The adult (the one in the background) had the habit of resting head-down, with her fluke at the surface.

The calf had an (over)abundance of energy and curiosity, meaning she rarely stayed still for more than a few moments. The scene pictured here was one rare instance during which the little one held her position for a bit, though it was probably for no more than 15-20 seconds or so. Healthy little humpbacks have lots to do, after all.

Learning through mimicry is common among juvenile mammals, so it should come as no surprise that the calf imitated her mother.

I've only come across this fluke-up, head-down sleeping habit once before, in 2010, once again with an adult female in that case.

I know from comparing flukes that the 2010 and 2014 adults are different; though I can't help but wonder if the two might be related.

Perhaps one day I'll come across this calf again when she's all grown up, just hanging around like her mom before her.