If you had to eat 5,500 pounds of food every day , you would need to find ingenuitive ways to get food and that is exactly what millions of years of evolution has done for the humpback whale.
New footage of humpback whales off the northeaster coast of Canada’s Vancouver Island have been captured on video showing how to get food to come to them instead of wasting energy to go after the fish. The method, called trap-feeding”, is when a humpback whale suspends itself on the surface or just below the surface and opens its mouth allowing for water to pour inside. While birds above the sea circle the fish trying to catch them from the air, the fish try to escape the birds and end up in the whales mouth.
As first reported in Marine Mammal Science, the researchers first noticed this way of feeding by two whales in 2011. Now the researchers have seen 16 whales use this technique, leading to the belief that the others whales have learned from observation.
The authors note that the ability of individual whales to learn can depend on physiology, as well as their ability to respond to their external environment, like changing numbers, availability, distribution, or behavior of prey.