Listening to Whales

Listening to Whales

What the Orcas Have Taught Us

Book - 2002 | First edition
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For the past twenty-five years, Alexandra Morton has been at the forefront of whale and dolphin research, dedicating her life to the study of orcas (also known as killer whales). Now in Listening to Whales, Morton shares the spellbinding story of her career, her adventures in the wilderness, the heartbreak she has endured, and the rewards of living her life on her own terms. Born into an artistic family in Connecticut, Morton experienced a seismic jolt when at age twelve she first read the work of primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall and knew she wanted to study wild animals. Soon afterward, listening for the first time to orcas communicating with each other, she knew she had found her life work. In the late 1970s, while working at California's Marineland, Alexandra pioneered the recording of whale sounds by dropping a hydrophone into the tank of two killer whales. She recorded the varied language of mating, childbirth, and even grief after the birth of a stillborn calf. At the same time she made the startling observation that the whales were inventing and perfecting wonderful synchronized movements, a behavior that was soon recognized as a defining characteristic of orca society. In 19784, Alexandra moved with her husband, photographer Robin Morton, to a remote bay in British Columbia to continue her research with wild orcas. For a few idyllic years, Alexandra and Robin shared their passion for whales, cruising the green northern waters and raising a baby boy. But tragedy struck when Robin died in a terrible accident. Only the love of her son and her abiding dedication to whale research gave Alexandra the strength to continue her groundbreaking work. Her recordings of the whales that swim by her house have led her to a deeper understanding of the mystery of whale echolocation, the vocal communication that enables the mammals to find their way in the dark sea. She continues to be among the renowned researchers attempting to break down the barriers of interspecies communication. At once an inspiring story of a woman's determination to live her life on her own terms and a fascinating study of the profound communion between humans and whales, this book will open your eyes anew to the wonders of the natural world.
Publisher: New York : Ballentine, c2002
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780345437945
Branch Call Number: 590.92 M88L
Characteristics: 309 pages, [8] pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm


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Feb 24, 2013

A wonderful book full of information and insight and written to be read easily by the public.


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haimingbooks Jun 25, 2013

...I listened to the poetry of ravens conversing across the bay. A puff of smoke followed by the incense of burning cedar signalled the awakening of ….household…. These eight-thousand-year-old sounds and smells couldn’t have been more alien to the proper colonial brick world in which I’d been raised. And yet I had never known a more perfect home.

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