How Killer Whales share food is an important aspect of everyday life for them and with another successful Beaked Whale hunt this morning it created a day of food sharing for Queen and her family pod. A big blue sky and gentle easterlies once again greeted us as we departed the Bremer Bay Boat Harbour and within moments of arriving in The Patch a successful Beaked Whale hunt was a wonderful reward for the hard working Orca. It was Queen and her family pod working alongside Alki who were able to secure breakfast for everyone as they spread out and divided the meal up amongst pod members. After many Beaked Whale hunt observations we have noted that the prized possession is the skull of the Beaked Whale. It may seem gruesome but to the Orca they will proudly carry the skull as a prize with the discipline and patience required to hunt a Beaked Whale taking much effort so a successful hunt is always celebrated.
Today Shredder and Kirra took turns carrying the skull as everyone feasted amongst the enormous oil slick that had formed after the kill. How Killer Whales share food is incredibly dainty as they gently take pieces of flesh from the main source being carried by another pod member who holds still while they use their bodies to pull/tear it from the larger piece. It always amazes us as even the tiniest morsel is savoured and enjoyed from the youngest of Orca through to the eldest. Welcoming us to their dinner table the Orca shared their meal right under our bow and showed off to us the food they were carrying as the calves excitedly raced around us in play mode. Eventually only a small amount remained as Shredder now turned her attention from feasting to teaching as she allowed each calf to come up and practice their pulling/tearing technique. Leaving the calves with the last morsel we smiled to see Madison approach, spit out a slither of flesh before slurping it back like a noodle!
She has always loved her food and has previously “offered” us pieces of her meal in the past. Once all the food had gone it was now time for Opal and Samurai to start hunting the Shearwaters as they tried to stealthily sneak up to them and grab their feet. A behaviour we have observed before but not with as much focus and effort as both calves had today. There were some very close calls as the Shearwaters narrowly missed becoming a feathered snack for the Orca calves. It was amazing to watch little Opal trying to change the way she approached the birds to prevent startling them and increase her chance of catching one, her inner apex predator already shining bright even at only a few moths old.