Hundreds of killer whales gather in Norway for what might be the world’s largest orca pod ever seen on video. We know orcas generally cluster in much smaller groups, so this massive pod of orcas raised some eyebrows. The number of whales is estimated to be over 300! The clip looks terrifying!
So, why are they all swarming?
We know orcas generally cluster in much smaller groups, so this massive pod of orcas raised some eyebrows.
The original hypothesis was that they were part of a vast extended family. Researchers listened to orcas communicate with each other to see whether this was accurate. Orcas from the same family frequently talk in the same dialect. However, after a brief listen, it became evident that there were many distinct dialects, implying that they are all from separate families.
So, rather than being one large pod, this is a collection of numerous pods converging in this location, which is rare for orca behavior.
The Orcas also gather in large numbers when the mating season starts. Orcas usually prefer to keep their breeding methods a closely guarded secret making this behavior is highly unlikely of them. Furthermore, it is a known fact that they like to mate in warmer waters and in the spring, therefore this film was shot in the winter, which seems to be the incorrect season for romance.
There are a lot of birds hovering overhead in the video, which might imply that there is a lot of food down below.
The fish is most likely herring, which is a favorite of orcas in this region of Norway. However, there is no tail slapping in the video, so it does not appear like they are herding them as they normally would.
Instead, you can see fishing boats off in the distance, and they frequently breach the nets and steal fish for themselves. These sophisticated orcas have learned the sound of fishing boats and have gathered in groups because they know there will be food here.
What a brilliant idea!