In 2015 a man called Brad Rich was with his friends on a boat expedition off the coast of Seward, Alaska. They were on a mission to film some of the beautiful seagulls native to the area. Since he was in the right place at the right time, there was no need for a visual description at all.
We need awards for people who capture incredible natural phenomena and show the rest of the world that not everyone is so lucky. There is nothing better than such a spectacle. That’s the sound of a person which mind is blowing away.
But Brad got more than a few excited gulls when his video surfaced on YouTube, where it has over 19 million views, and a lot coming from other platforms. Be sure to watch the video before you read the text below. If you don’t want spoilers, please do so.
Bubble-net feeding phenomena of humpback whales
Brad heard the sound of a whale as he approached their boat and captured his camera. The whale decided to swim up to the boat in amazement and excitement. 56 seconds, the whale broke through the surface in the wild and chased seagulls and fish. It was a remarkable sight, and Brad and his friends couldn’t stop screaming in awe.
This is a stunning spectacle of complex whale behavior known as bubble net feeding. Whales are among the most mysterious animals in the sea. They are difficult to understand and exhibit certain strange behaviors that are unpredictable. This is a sign of high intelligence and improved adaptability.
Unlike most whale species, which are loners who live and move in order to feed, humpback whales are migratory and prefer to travel in groups. Under certain circumstances they come together to form a so-called bubble net, a pack of whales that breaks through the ocean to catch tons of unsuspecting prey. Most people who go on tours to watch them have a common interest: to witness the bubble mesh ritual. This method, known as cooperative feeding, is a tactic used to confuse a prey, normally a school of fish. A bubble net consists of at least two or three whales and, depending on the strength of the group, up to sixty.
How does it work?
Humpback whales prefer to feed in bubble nets, or alone, but there is no prediction of when this will happen. Feeding bubble nets is a whirlwind of activity that shows how intelligent whales are as mammals.
It is this synchronized event that causes a whale to dive in and shoot out at high speed. It does this by blowing out air and creating a mass of bubbles that force the fish to the surface. Other whales follow and form their own bubbles.
In summer, humpback whales can eat up to 3,000 pounds of fish a day. When a humpback whale enters, it forms a fence around the prey and swallows as many as possible before the bubbles dissolve. The fish cannot cope with the noise and only a few escape the huge nets. A humpback whale weighs 25 to 30 tons, so you can imagine how intense that can be. It feeds in the summer and weighs up to twice for the rest of the year when it focuses on breeding in quiet places.