Low Rainfall Leads to an Odd and Changing Year for Salmon, Killer Whales and People published by Puget Sound Institute
by Christopher Dunagan, NOVEMBER 21, 2022
EXCERPT: “It has been an interesting year for observing the behavior of Southern Resident killer whales, chum salmon and humans in the Puget Sound region. Weather played a significant role.
Two weeks ago, all three pods of endangered orcas spent four days together in Puget Sound, something we have not seen in years. Chum salmon, which the whales feed upon in the fall, appeared to be on a stop-and-go migration schedule because of the unusual rainfall pattern. And, as always, the activities of people must be noted within this ecological context.
Before I describe some of these behavioral observations going back to last spring, I should point out that it is often difficult to prove that one thing causes another. In the absence of careful study, keep in mind that seemingly related events might be coincidental yet worthy of further exploration.
Orcas gather for four-day “Superpod”
All of the Southern Resident orcas — more than 70 animals in J, K and L pods — spent four days feasting on salmon in Central Puget Sound, generally from South Whidbey Island south to Seattle-Bremerton and along Vashon Island, according to Alisa Lemire Brooks, whale sighting network coordinator for Orca Network, a nonprofit group that keeps track of whale movements in the Salish Sea.”