When New Yorkers spot a whale in the Hudson River, for a brief moment we are reminded that we're not the only ones calling New York "home."
A majestic humpback whale was spotted swimming in the Hudson River on Monday and Tuesday near the Statue of Liberty. As always, it transfixed quite a few of us.
🗽 🐋@NJwhalegirl @gothamwhale @wildcitynyc @NBCNewYork @brian4NY #CitizenScience #humpbackwhale pic.twitter.com/gfFIMELIle— Andrés (@AndresJavierNYC) December 7, 2020
NYC0089 is a returning #HumpbackWhale first spotted in June 2018. Our Associate Researcher, @ackerman_celia, and @araslich recently photographed this whale on 11/27/20 while aboard the @APCruises. pic.twitter.com/ew1Gl68y5y— Gotham Whale (@gothamwhale) December 9, 2020
New Yorkers strolling near the river near Pier 84 reported seeing the dorsal fins on Monday, and closer to the Statue of Liberty on Tuesday.
This isn't the whale's first time visiting the Big Apple—it was first sighted here in June 2019 and got an ID number (NYC0089), according to experts at Gotham Whale. In fact, the number of whales they've counted in New York waters has increased 100-fold since 2011, founder Paul Sieswerda wrote in Oceanographic Magazine.
"Many variables make that number imprecise, but the magnitude is astounding," he said. "Prior to 10 years ago, it was only an occasional whale that wandered through the waters around NYC. Now they come here to eat regularly."
That's right, these whales are coming into NYC waters for the grub—not unlike the rest of us flocking to the city's best restaurants. Specifically, they're here for the menhaden (mossbunker and bunker fish).
And luckily, NYC water quality is such that whales feel safe traversing them, the NYC Parks Department says.
"Reasons for the uptick may include an improvement in local water quality, & an abundance of food sources like Atlantic menhaden," the agency tweeted.
Gotham Whale agrees and notes that most of the whales in NYC waters have been younger. They're not as large as those off Massachusetts and Maine, but Gotham Whale doesn't yet have a reason why this might be, Sieswerda says.
Whatever the case may be, they're a welcome sight!
"NYC0089 is a symbol of resiliency even in tough times," Gotham Whale tweeted. But even they admitted the name was a bit of a mouthful.
When NYC0055 spent a week in the #HudsonRiver, they were dubbed 'Gotham'. What do you think NYC0089 aka the #HumpbackWhale sighted this week’s nickname should be?— Gotham Whale (@gothamwhale) December 9, 2020
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