#153: Happy Holidays

What a year! When we look back through the blogs, a lot of exciting things happened. We trained different species of animals, opened the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center, and welcomed a new colony of Northern Fur Seals. While the holidays can be a busy time, we wanted to take a minute and thank everyone who followed us this year. We really appreciated the interest, the questions and the support. Here's to another great year!

Happy Holidays,

(See the Marine Mammal Team's equally adorable 2008 holiday card here.)



#152: Sounds of the seals

Snoring, bleating, purring? This sounds like my house after the Thanksgiving meal. Imagine my surprise when I heard the same sounds coming from the Northern fur seals. Last month I posted examples of Baranov's "whickering." Ursula makes some unique sounds of her own.

Ursula had been quiet as the proverbial church mouse during her first year and a half with us. Then, only occasionally, we would hear a sound similar to that of a bleating sheep. This sound is made by some female fur seals as they enter estrus (what we refer to as "in heat" for dogs). Recently some staff members described a new sound from Ursula as a clicking or rumbling in her throat. I was able to record the sound while waiting for work to be completed on an exhibit door. Unfortunately, the recording also picks up the door being rattled so some of Ursula's sounds are covered. Her clicking sound is made with her mouth closed and goes for the first two seconds, then right as it goes to three you hear the first of the door sounds.

I tried to catch the sound again in this video, but became captivated by Baranov's territorial display. You'll see Isaac head for the water, but Cordova seems less than concerned by Baranov roaring in her face.