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Humpback Whale Song

From: Heidi Chang
Length: 09:49

Why do humpback whales sing? Some researchers are trying to solve that mystery as they take you on a wild adventure in Hawaii. Experience some close encounters with humpback whales and their haunting songs.

Humpback_small Each year, ten thousand North Pacific humpback whales migrate from their summer feeding grounds off Alaska to spend the winter and spring in Hawaii. It's the home of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary--the only place where humpbacks reproduce in the United States.

Over the past decade, Canadian scientist Jim Darling has been coming to Hawaii to try to solve the puzzle of why humpback whales sing. Since he's been recording and studying whale song, he's made some amazing discoveries. Darling has been researching whale song along with world-renowned whale photographer Flip Nicklin.  Their work has been featured in National Geographic.  The photo on this page, showing a singing whale by a hydrophone, is by Flip Nicklin. 

This piece was originally broadcast on Living on Earth in 2002, and has been updated and remixed for PRX.  It won the 2002 Society of Professional Journalists Hawaii Chapter Excellence In Journalism Award for General News/Enterprise Reporting.

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Piece Description

Each year, ten thousand North Pacific humpback whales migrate from their summer feeding grounds off Alaska to spend the winter and spring in Hawaii. It's the home of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary--the only place where humpbacks reproduce in the United States.

Over the past decade, Canadian scientist Jim Darling has been coming to Hawaii to try to solve the puzzle of why humpback whales sing. Since he's been recording and studying whale song, he's made some amazing discoveries. Darling has been researching whale song along with world-renowned whale photographer Flip Nicklin.  Their work has been featured in National Geographic.  The photo on this page, showing a singing whale by a hydrophone, is by Flip Nicklin. 

This piece was originally broadcast on Living on Earth in 2002, and has been updated and remixed for PRX.  It won the 2002 Society of Professional Journalists Hawaii Chapter Excellence In Journalism Award for General News/Enterprise Reporting.

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Review of Humpback Whale Song

Informational, and I've learned quite a few things from this piece. For educational programming it's a must have on the roster. Doesn't overwhelm with scientific jargon but the clarity in its narrative structure makes it a worthwhile listen.

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Review of Humpback Whale Song

This wonderful story takes the listener on a journey to explore the unknown. Heidi gives us an intimate look at one of natures most beautiful creatures, the humpback whale. What I enjoyed most about this piece is Heidi protrays these mammals and the scientists who follow them with none of the syrupy sweetness that accompany most stories of animals in the wild. Hers is a story that merely conveys the facts of their behavior while allowing them reveal themselves for what they are: interesting characters who engage our interest and our imagination. With rich sound and a compelling narrative, this piece would make an excellent choice for virtually any news or features magazine.

Broadcast History

Originally broadcast on Living on Earth in 2002. Two versions have been updated and remixed for PRX.

Timing and Cues

HOST INTRO: Each year, ten thousand North Pacific humpback whales migrate from their summer feediing grounds off Alaska to spend the winter and spring in Hawaii. The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is the only place where humpbacks reproduce in the United States. (The sanctuary covers, 1,400 square miles of ocean.) And scientists come here to do research. One of them is Jim Darling, who's trying to solve the mystery of why humpback whales sing. Heidi Chang has this profile.

Version 1 runs: 9:49
OUTCUE: I'm Heidi Chang in Lahaina, Maui. Music inspired by whale songs runs 1:07. (The musical tag is there if you need it. You can fade out anytime.)

Version 2 Runs: 8:01
OUTCUE: I'm Heidi Chang in Lahaina, Maui. There's a few seconds of whale song fades out at the end. You can fade out anytime.
OUTCUE:

Musical Works

Title Artist Album Label Year Length
Ballade At Whitsunday Lisa Leung and Pierre Grill Whale Cry of the Ocean. RVR Records 1998 02:39