Length: 12.5 inches
Immature similar to adult basic but bill is smaller and darker
Pelagic bird only coming ashore to breed
Medium to large alcid that dives for food from water surface
Entirely dark plumage,
Breeds from coastal Alaska to California, pelagic in winter
Extremely colorful bill-yellow at base and red at tip
White, triangular face patch
Yellow tufts extending from behind the eye
Similar species: The large bill separates adults from all other alcids except other puffins, both of which have white underparts. Juvenile Tufted Puffins are similar to Rhinoceros Auklets, but are rounder-headed with a slightly different bill shape.
The Orca, or killer whale, with its striking black and white coloring, is one of the best known of all the cetaceans. There are two types of Orcas found in our local waters: Resident Orcas (fish-eaters) and Transient Orcas (marine mammal eaters). There are about 78 Orcas in the Southern Resident Orca pods of J, K & L Pod and an even larger number of Transient Orcas. This large number of Orcas is why Victoria is one of the best places in the world to observe Orcas in the wild. Orcas are actually the largest member of the Dolphin family, Delphinidae. They are highly intelligent animals and are the number one predator in the ocean. Resident Orcas travel in tight family groups commonly referred to as ‘pods’, with larger pods comprising over 40 whales (L-pod). Orcas can travel up to 160 kms (100 miles) in a 24-hour period and reach speeds up t0 50 kph (31 mph)!
California Sealions range from chocolate brown in males to a lighter, golden brown in females. California sea lions are known for their intelligence, playfulness, and noisy barking.Males may reach 1000 pounds (more often 850 lbs., or 390 kg) and seven feet (2.1m) in length. Females grow up to 220 lbs (110kg) and up to six feet (1.8m) in length. California sea lions are found from Vancouver Island, British Columbia to the southern tip of Baja California in Mexico. They are opportunistic eaters, feeding on squid, octopus, herring, rockfish, mackerel, and small sharks. Adult males have a visible sagittal crest (the bump on the top of their heads).
The gray whale received its name from the gray patches and white mottling on its dark skin. The only member of the family Eschrichtiidae, the gray whale is a Baleen whale but is unique as it feeds on small crustaceans such as amphipods, and tube worms found in bottom sediments. It is a “coastal” whale that migrates along the North American Pacific Coast between arctic seas and the lagoons of Baja California, Mexico all the way to the Bering and Chukchi Seas. This is the longest migration of all whales and can reach a total round trip of between 10,000 to 14,000 miles.
Size & Weight:
Adult males measure 45-46 feet (13.7-14 m) and adult females measure slightly more. Both sexes weigh 30-40 tons (27,200-36,300 kg).
This uniquely marked, black and white porpoise was named after the American naturalist W. H. Dall, who collected the first specimen of the type, which is now on display in the U. S. National Museum. It may be the fastest swimmer of all the small cetaceans and has been reported to reach speeds of 30 knots (55 kph). It delights in bow riding with fast-moving vessels. Dall’s porpoise has an extremely robust and muscular body. This cetacean is quite small, averaging 6 feet (1.8 m) for males with a maximum length of 7.5 feet (2.29m). Females average 6 feet (1.8 m) with a maximum length of 7 feet (2.1m). Weight averages 270 pounds (123 kg) for both males and females. Possible maximum weight is about 350 pounds (160 kg). Dall’s porpoise eats a wide variety of prey species, depending on what’s available within its range. In some areas it eats squid, but in other areas it may feed on small schooling fishes such as capelin, sardines, herring, lantern fish, hake and deep-sea smelt.
The Humpback Whale is one of the Rorquals, a family that also includes the Blue Whale, Fin Whale, Bryde’s Whale, Sei Whale and Minke Whale. Humpback Whales are Baleen Whales (filter feeders) and feed on krill, small shrimp-like crustaceans, and various kinds of small fish. Pacific Coast Humpback Whales have a long migration route traveling from the Baja Peninsula or Hawaii to rich feeding grounds in Alaska each spring and then returning south again for the winter to breed and give birth to calves. Over the last 8 years Humpback Whale sightings off Victoria have increased significantly, especially in later summer and the fall.
Size & Weight:
Adult males measure 40-48 feet (12.2-14.6 m), adult females measure 45-50 feet (13.7-15.2 m). They weigh 25 to 40 tons (22,680-36,287 kg).
One of the smallest of the oceanic cetaceans the Harbor Porpoise is shy and elusive, not inclined to approach boats and bow ride, as many other species of dolphins and porpoises do. On calm days these animals can be easily detected by the loud puffing sound they make as they surface to breathe.. Maximum length is 6 feet (1.9 m) with a maximum weight of approximately 200 pounds (90 kg). The harbor porpoise eats non-spiny fishes such as herring, cod, whiting, squid, pollock, and sardines.
The minke (pronounced mink-ey) whale is also known as the Little Piked Whale. Like all the rorquals, the Minke is a fast swimmer, capable of reaching speeds of 18-24 knots (16-21 mph). The Minke is a baleen whale, having 280 to 300 yellowish-white baleen plates, usually no more than 11 inches in length, on each side of its upper jaw. Its body is slender and streamlined. Minke whales feed primarily on krill in the southern hemisphere and on small schooling fish (capelin, cod, herring, pollock) or krill in the northern hemisphere. They will also eat copepods in certain areas.
Size & Weight:
Adult males average about 26 feet (8 m) with a maximum length of 31 feet (9.4 m), while adult females average 27 feet (8.2 m) with a maximum length of 33 feet (10.2 m). Both males and females weigh about 10 tons.