Saturday, July 23, 2011

Baby Wild Spinner Dolphins

Baby Spinner Dolphin born this week!
Late July or early August begins the primary birthing season here in Hawaii. Today I filmed the first baby that we have seen in daily trips this month!  Born this week.  We can assess the approximate age by looking at fetal folds, which are quite apparent for 4 days or so, and any curvature in the dorsal fin and flukes which straighten quite quickly. This one still has fetal folds, but the little one's dorsal fin is upright and his flukes are pretty straight across, so he's a few days old & less than a week.
The adult dolphins nearby are protective and keeping a close watch alongside his mom.
Although dolphins give birth all year in Hawaii, we'll see new baby dolphins nearly every week in August, September, and October.  Dolphins continue to give birth up until winter when the rate drops off.  In spring we see a few more dolphins born.  In March, females begin to show their pregnancy and become 'fatties' for a few months, an obvious bulge in their bellies.  The babies nurse for at least 6 months and stay close to mom until a new calf is born.  I have seen moms I recognize give birth every year.  Well, I must say, I have never seen a live birth, but rather see the baby alongside mom in the days following their birth. Some moms are very protective, and others let their babies ride the boat's bow wave while very young.
This mom gave me a wonderful birthday gift! ...