Breeching humpback whale from MaxPixel








The whale in Song For a Whale is based on the 52 Hertz whale, also known as the Lonely Whale. He’s a whale who sings at a frequency unlike other whales, so he probably can’t communicate with others.

Listen to a recording of his song:

The low sound is hard for humans to hear, so here it is sped up:

You can learn more about the whale in the articles here:

“The Loneliest Whale In the World?” Washington Post

“A Lonely Whale’s Unrequited Love Song” on Mental Floss

“Lonely Whale With No Friends One Step Closer To Having His Voice Heard,” on The Dodo, about the plan to make a documentary about the 52 Hertz whale

“The Mystery of the Loneliest Whale in the World” on The Daily Research

“52-Hertz Song of the World’s Loneliest Whale,” EarthSky

“The Legend of the Loneliest Whale In the World” on Slate

“Song of the Sea, A Cappella and Unanswered,” The New Yorker

“The Loneliest Whale In the World?” The Seeker

These articles from The Smithsonian and BBC News suggest that there might be other whales that sing at the unusual frequency, rather than just one isolated whale

Visit these sites to learn more about whales:

NPR article “It Took a Musician’s Ear to Decode the Complex Song in Whale Calls,” about musician and acoustic biologist Katy Payne

Here’s what humpback whale songs look like on sheet music:

Read more about the whale sheet music on this Smithsonian article

Hear the calls of different marine mammals on the Scripps Whale Acoustic Lab

Enchanted Learning’s whale page, with links to information sheets, activities, and more

Watch the Sonic Sea documentary to learn how ocean noise is affecting marine life

The WDC website has lots of information about whales and dolphins, and you can even see a close-up of a blue whale eye. See their Kid Zone section for activities, lessons, and whale and dolphin news written for kids

A good collection of articles on BBC Earth

“Recordings Reveal That Baby Humpback Whales ‘Whisper’ to Their Mothers” from NPR. Listen to a recording of a baby humpback, too!

Humpback mother and calf, NOAA photo library

See a group of deaf students in the Dominican Republic “hearing” whales on a whale watch by feeling the vibrations of their songs on speakers

“Travel Through Time With a Whale Detective” and see the world’s largest collection of whale bones

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