Weekly Whale Feature: 'Raven'

Posted: Friday, June 18, 2010

This whale was named for its dark tail; so beautiful and black, like a raven in flight.

Courtesy Of Jay Beedle
Courtesy Of Jay Beedle

Name: Raven / Bullethole / NOAA No. SEAK 1703

Gender: Female

When to look: Raven has been in Juneau's local waters at least every year for the last five years. She can be seen as early as May and usually stays into the fall.

Where: Anywhere in the Juneau area. However, after July 15, North Pass seems to be a popular place to see Raven.

Markings: Raven has a big, almost all black fluke, with just a few small white marks. The best way to identify this whale is by a small white scratch near the middle, outer edge on the right side of her fluke. Additionally, a small hole through her tail can be seen near the trailing edge to the left of the center of her tail. A U-shaped shaped chunk, that appeared in 2008, can also help to identify this whale. It can be found on the trailing edge to the left of the hole.

Behavior: Like many of the regular whales in the Juneau area, she is very fun to watch. Her dive times are usually from four to 10 minutes and her fluke usually comes high out of the water before a deep dive. I only have two pictures of her involved in a bubble-feeding group, taken in 2008 on August 7, near Aaron Island. I have only seen her breach twice. That time, she followed up with some pectoral fin slaps. This happened in 2007, on July 8 at 10:59 a.m., at the south end of North Pass. Besides this, there has been very little other extra special activity. I think she enjoys other whales in the area with her, especially when she is feeding in North Pass. Many times, I've seen her swimming together with whales like, Black Barnacle, Spot, Poisson and Flame. However, I have also observed her many times by herself.

Notes: Raven had a calf in 2009.

• The "Weekly Whale Feature" is compiled by Jay Beedle, a longtime Juneau resident who makes his home on Shelter Island. He is a photographer and co-owns Harv and Marv's Outback Alaska which offers whale watching tours during summer months.

For more information about his photography contact Gretchen Pence at gretchenpence@islandimagesalaska.com or at 789-0089.

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