Rare sighting of Baird's Beaked Whales in Monterey Bay caught on drone video

Drone footage from Monterey Bay Whale Watch shows a rarely seen species of whale swimming in formation in the Monterey Bay Area. The video of Baird's Beaked Whales was taken on Wednesday, May 29, and the group who shot the footage calls it the "best drone video of this species ever recorded."

Marine Biologist Nancy Black tells KTVU that the Monterey Bay Whale Watch’s tour on May 29 encountered and filmed the Baird’s Beaked Whales. 

"This is the largest group of Beaked Whales I have seen over the last 30 years, and I have only seen this species of whale about 10 times in my life. The whales dove for 25 minutes and remained on the surface for about 8 minutes which allowed us to obtain the best drone footage ever of these whales," said Black. 

"From the drone we were able to see that there were 24 individuals and 3 small calves in the group, which we could not see from the boat.”

These whales, up to 36’ long, are rarely seen as they normally occur far offshore and dive to depths of more than 3,000 feet, holding their breath on long dives for up to an hour while they feed on deep-sea fish and squid.

Occasionally they are found closer to shore near Monterey due to the deep submarine canyon in Monterey Bay.

Baird’s Beaked Whales are very unusual looking as they have a large bulbous forehead and a long bottle like nose. Black said, “the group we saw were swimming in a tight line-abreast formation, with each whale swimming side by side, with the calves in the middle and one of the whales breached.”

The Beaked Whale family of whales is among the least studied and most mysterious of all whales.