Orcas sighted off Northern California coast

The extraordinary sighting of Orcas or “Killer Whales” in Northern California offshore waters is making the news this week.

About 40 Orcas were spotted late last week in the Gulf of the Farallones around 20 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. Another group was also seen in the Half Moon Bay area feeding on a harbor seal.

The mammals usually are found in the Puget Sound area of Washington state, but it’s not unusual for some pods to venture south to feed on the abundant waters in Northern California. The Orcas are striking with their black and white colorings and can grow to at least 30 feet in length as adults. There was also a group spotted in January 2007. See SF Chronicle story

Like other pack animals, killer whales hunt in groups or pods for food. They work together and encircle and move prey into smaller areas before attacking. The animals feed on fish, squid seals, sea lions, walruses, sea turtles, otters and even birds.

Other news reports:

Killer whales spotted in Farallones waters

CBS-TV video report: Orcas Spotted Off Golden Gate Near Farallones

1 thought on “Orcas sighted off Northern California coast”

  1. On 05/17/2014 a friend and I saw a pod of Orcas feeding on seals on the Pacific side of the Samoa Peninsula west from Eureka, CA. We saw many breaths. We saw 5-10 dorsal fins; not all at once some could have been repeats. We seen two roll.
    We did not realize they were feeding when we first saw them. After they moved back out to sea we moved closer to where we had seen them and noticed a few injured and two dying seals in the locations where they had been most active.
    We had been up on a high dude about 200 yards from the beach when we first spotted them. At that point they were only about 50 yards off shone. (When we went to investigate closer that is where most of the injured and one of the dying seals were.) The Orcas moved in a little closer to the beach and that is when we saw the dorsal fins and rolls. They then headed out to sea and to the north. They had moved about (Guessing with my eyes) about 200 yards along the beach before heading back out to sea. They seem to have started another round of feeding after moving a little out to sea. (We saw a bit more activity there but not as much as when we had first seen them.)
    We decided to go down to the surf encase they came back. We then noticed seals struggling and others that just seemed to be grieving or hanging out or whatever seals do with their dead and dying friends after and attack by Orcas. One of the injured seals quit moving while we were watching. There was also a injured or dead seal floating to the north and up the beach where the second bout of activity was.
    It was fun.

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