We're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see when we analyze the acoustic recordings for fin, humpback, North Atlantic right, sei, and minke whales. Since each species makes specific vocalizations that are different from other species, we can identify which vocalization belongs to which species by viewing the vocalizations through spectrograms. Spectrograms show the time on the bottom (x-axis) and frequency on the left (y-axis), and the gray scale indicates relative amplitude (or loudness of the sound). The range of these sounds depends on the species vocalizations and also the habitat in which they occur. For example, New York waters (much like the city) is loud so vocalizations don't travel as far as they do in quieter waters. To hear some of these vocalizations off New York, head to the Whale Kiosk.

These spectrograms show fin whale song in the New York Bight, composed of 20 Hz pulses.


The above spectrograms show examples of higher frequency fin whale calls in the New York Bight, outlined in the blue boxes.


These spectrograms show humpback whale song from the New York Bight in 2018 (male humpback whales change their song every year!).

In the above spectrograms, examples of humpback whale calls (also known as social sounds) such as yaps (A), yelps (B), moans (C), and wops (D) are shown. The black bars indicate that these calls were recorded on different days.

This spectrogram shows North Atlantic right whale (NARW) upcalls (first two blue boxes) and upcalls with a moan prior to the upcall (other blue boxes) in the New York Bight.

This spectrogram shows a sei whale doublet call indicated by the blue boxes. Sei whales also produce single and triplet calls.

These spectrograms show four examples of common minke whale pulse trains with different patterns and pulse train types. Adapted from Risch et al. 2014. Minke whales are currently not analyzed in near real-time.