Size- and age-class segregation of bowhead whales summering in northern Foxe Basin: A photogrammetric analysis

  • Cosens S
  • Blouw A
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Abstract

To determine whether Hudson Bay-Foxe Basin bowhead whales segregate on the basis of age, whales summering in northern Foxe Basin, were aerially photographed in August of 1996, 1997, and 1998. Image lengths on either the negatives or contact prints were measured and total body lengths were estimated. In all three years the majority of whales photographed were ≤ 13.5 m long. Calves and juveniles made up 89.3%, 96.6%, and 79.3% of the total number of measured whales in 1996 (n = 28), 1997 (n = 30) and 1998 (n = 29) respectively. The number of bowheads > I 3.5 m, the approximate size at which females reach sexual maturity, that were photographed was directly proportional to the number of calves photographed. Our results indicate that northern Foxe Basin bowheads are part of a more widely distributed stock. Adult males and resting adult females apparently summer in another part of the range, probably northwestern Hudson Bay. Northern Foxe Basin appears to be used as a summer feeding area by cows with young-of-the-year calves and by juveniles.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Age-class segregation
  • Balaena mysticetus
  • Bowhead whale
  • Distribution
  • Northern Foxe Basin

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Authors

  • Susan E. Cosens

  • Andries Blouw

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