Transient Orca Whales
Over 450 Transient Orca Whales travel the waters from southeast Alaska to southern California. These whales have no particular travel patterns and are very roving. They are matriarchal and travel in pods of 3 to 7 animals, although groups of up to 30 animals have been documented together.
Transient orcas are strictly mammal eaters and their diet consists of many different marine mammals including, Seals, Sea Lions, Dolphins, Porpoises, marine birds, other larger baleen whales as well as deer that swim between the local gulf islands
Transient killer whale pods are generally comprised of an adult female and two or three of her offspring. Among the differences between residents and transients are that while resident orcas of both sexes stay within shouting distance of their mothers their entire lives, only first-born male transients maintain such intense fidelity to their mothers.
Occasionally transients may gather in group of a dozen or more and can also be quite acrobatic during socializing sessions. Seals and porpoises may be tossed around and batted into the air with powerful tail slaps, or held underwater until drowned. Orcas probably got their exaggerated reputation as killer whales from reports of transients feeding on marine mammals, including large whales, to shreds. To date, however there are no known cases of orcas eating or even harming a human.
Compared with the Southern Resident Orca Whales very little is really know about transient orcas. But with continued research and observation we are starting to scratch the surface of these top ocean predators. Over the last five years we have been witnessing increasing numbers of transients in our waters which enables researches a bit more of a glimpse into their lives.