North Pacific humpback whale breaching in Frederick Sound, Alaska
© Tony Wu/Minden Picture
Summertime in Alaska
Humpback whales are famous for breaching—leaping out of the water in a spectacular display of size and power. Even though they can weigh more than a house and stretch to 50 feet in length, they still manage aquatic acrobatics that are amazing to behold, as the picture on our homepage captures so beautifully. Scientists don't know why some whales breach but speculate it's a form of communication or a mating display. Or maybe they're just having fun.
Our homepage image comes from Frederick Sound in Southeast Alaska, one of the best places to see humpbacks in July. The whales return to the area in summer to dine on krill, herring, and other delicacies in the cool waters. But as fall approaches, they'll start their long journey south to spend the winter in tropical environs, as would any sensible mammal with the means to travel.