Songs of the Bowhead Whale

Heres a program from our archives.ambience, Bowhead whalesIn the waters underneath the Arctic ice there’s a world of sound that’s rich with the calls of many marine mammals, including the Bowhead Whale. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Clark: When you put your hydrophones under the ice and listen, you can hear whales that are 20 miles away. And suddenly your world is opened up and expanded to an enormous distance.Chris Clark is Director of Cornell University’s Bioacoustic Program.Clark: When you listen to a Bowhead sing, when you first hear it to the south early in the morning, and it sings all day as it swims by you, and then later that evening it’s up to the north another 40 miles away, it’s a remarkable experience and you realize how different this world is underwater from what we experience in air.My first impression, when listening to these sounds, was that I was in a jungle. There were so many different voices with so many wild permutations that I had never heard before, it’s hard to imagine that a bowhead whale can be responsible for so many distinctive and complex sounds. And they’re using these to communicate with each other and they’re also using these to produce echoes of sounds off the ice and the bottom in order to navigate through the ice.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast.

Songs of the Bowhead Whale

The Bowhead Whale lives in an underwater jungle of sound.
Air Date:11/15/2018
Scientist:
Transcript:

Heres a program from our archives.ambience, Bowhead whalesIn the waters underneath the Arctic ice there's a world of sound that's rich with the calls of many marine mammals, including the Bowhead Whale. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Clark: When you put your hydrophones under the ice and listen, you can hear whales that are 20 miles away. And suddenly your world is opened up and expanded to an enormous distance.Chris Clark is Director of Cornell University's Bioacoustic Program.Clark: When you listen to a Bowhead sing, when you first hear it to the south early in the morning, and it sings all day as it swims by you, and then later that evening it's up to the north another 40 miles away, it's a remarkable experience and you realize how different this world is underwater from what we experience in air.My first impression, when listening to these sounds, was that I was in a jungle. There were so many different voices with so many wild permutations that I had never heard before, it's hard to imagine that a bowhead whale can be responsible for so many distinctive and complex sounds. And they're using these to communicate with each other and they're also using these to produce echoes of sounds off the ice and the bottom in order to navigate through the ice.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast.