Q. Around the end of October 2012 my husband and I saw at least 30 dolphins swimming near the beach when we were taking a walking back from Bird Island toward Sunset Beach. I have never seen more than about seven at one time. Is it unusual to see so many that close to the beach at one time? They were all swimming west toward Bird Island.
A. “Given the time of year and dolphin feeding behavior, seeing numerous dolphins off a North Carolina beach is not unusual,” said Jennifer Metzler-Fiorino, education curator at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher. “Dolphins are highly social animals, and like so many marine animals, follow their food. A pod of dolphins can vary in size depending on many variables, from age and gender to depth and openness of the water. Pods can come together to form larger temporary groups for protection, mating and hunting. The dolphins seen off Sunset Beach were likely following their food – spot and croaker, which are soniferous (sound-producing) fish. The dolphins follow and hunt them using echolocation.”
Date posted: January 22, 2013
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