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Listening to Whales: What the Orcas Have Taught Us [Kindle Edition]

Alexandra Morton
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In Listening to Whales, Alexandra Morton shares spellbinding stories about her career in whale and dolphin research and what she has learned from and about these magnificent mammals. In the late 1970s, while working at Marineland in California, Alexandra pioneered the recording of orca 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 wonderful synchronized movements, a behavior that was soon recognized as a defining characteristic of orca society.

In 1984, Alexandra moved to a remote bay in British Columbia to continue her research with wild orcas. Her recordings of the whales 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. 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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6128 KB
  • Print Length: 329 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (30 Dec. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #251,016 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Listening to whales 4 Jun. 2006
If I believed in parallel universes I would think that somewhere there is another version of me, living in another version of Earth, in a place a bit like British Columbia in Canada. I'd live on the sea, somewhere rugged and remote and study marine mammals. The version of me writing this review took a different path in life but this book is as near as I'll get to that alternate life: and it does a pretty good job.

Alexandra Morton started her career at a marine park in California in the late 1970s. She began studying communication between dolphins but then changed her attention to the killer whales at the park and pioneered the recording of orca sounds using a hydrophone. Becoming increasingly perturbed by the concept of captive marine mammals, in 1984 she moved to a remote community in British Columbia changing the emphasis of her research from captive to wild orca.

Alexandra recorded the whales during mating, childbirth, training and grief and became to recognise the various patterns and what they mean. Her recordings have led to a deeper understanding of whale communication by echolocation and of the effects that modern fishing techniques and other human activities are having on the whales today.

I enjoyed the way this book was written: it is scientific but also deeply moving. She describes the tedious and meticulous job of recording and analysing the sounds recorded on her hydrophone: I'm not certain that the other version of me would have the patience for that. She describes how the whale researchers all interact to piece together what they can about the behaviour of whales in a way that makes you feel as if you have met them in person.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book and if you are looking for a summer read which will allow you to think about our wider world rather than another chick lit novel about kooky girl meeting normal guy etc., then look no further. This beautifully written book that will make you appreciate the wonderful world of the sea and it's inlets. It will make you think differently about the captivity of these beautiful creatures for our entertainment. It is illegal to caputre humans and keep them in captivity for the entertainment of other humans, so why as intelligent beings do we do the same to highly intelligent sea life and other creatures. (I don't include environmental Zoos in this just entertainment parks and circuses).

Read this book and if it changes just one person's view about the beautiful and highly intelligent Orca it will be worth it. It has changed my view and where before I was ambivalent about places that use these beautiful creatures for our entertainment, now I abhor them and would never set foot inside of one or hopefully buy any product or visit any place that is owned by the same corporation.

If you are expecting to head to one of these places during your summer holiday this year please give some time to reading this book first and I hope it will change your viewpoint.

Farmed salmon also comes under scrutiney because of the damage it has done during the time it was allowed to be an unregulated activity.

Whilst I have not decided to up sticks and move to a such a remote place to protect the environment, I like one of the other reviewers would like to think that in a parellel universe there is another me doing just that.

Thnak you Alexandra for opening your science, your research, your world and most of all your heart to me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Orca Tales 28 Oct. 2008
This book is out of this world.
I could not put it down once the working with Orky and Corky came up.
Beautiful photos and a beautiful book by Alexandra Morton.
The only disappointment was I had to finish it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book! 24 Oct. 2004
By Rebecca
Alexandra Morton takes you into the wonderfull underwater world of the whales and their enviroment. There are moments that will make you laugh and cry and also be ashamed to be human. It will leave you in awe of orcas and marvalled by the intelligence that these sentient animals show. A definate for all animal lovers out there our any body considering visiting marine parks as this will open your eyes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best book for any whale enthusiast 17 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is captivating, you really feel like you are there with the author through all the experiences and trials. I was a bit disappointed with the last few chapters as they focus more on the aftermath of the fish farms and I would have liked it to go back to the whales but without giving too much away I understand why it did.
This really is a fantastic book and I was gutted when I finished it, there are constant suprises and I would definately read it again and again.
Thank you very much Alexandra Morton x
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