Superpod: Saving the Endangered Orcas of the Pacific Northwest
(Chicago Review Press, April 2023) Fun nonfiction for kids & teens.
Learn about the beloved Southern Resident orcas and people working to help them recover using everything from drones and dogs to medicine and laws.
Orca family updates
What's new with the Southern Residents?
Center for Whale Research's fall 2023 census: As of July 1, 2023, the Southern Resident killer whale population (J, K, and L pods) comprised 75 individuals. No deaths were recorded in the latest census period. J pod has 25 individuals. K pod remains at 16, its lowest number in two decades. There were two births in L pod: L126 (male; mother is L119) and L127 (female; mother is L94), bringing the L pod count to 34 whales.
6/8/23: Which Southern Resident are you most like? Take the Seattle Aquarium quiz to find out!
6/24/23: New baby in L pod!
6/14/23: New findings about the social structure of Bigg's killer whales, from the Center for Whale Research: Females maintain close relationships with their adult sons, while daughters disperse. Read more here!
4/28/23: The Southern Residents will soon get more space on the water, which will improve their odds of catching fish and feeding their young: Lawmakers vote to keep boaters 1,000 yards from southern resident orcas in WA | The Seattle Times
Listen & watch
Hydrophone recordings, videos, and more!
Orca scientists at work (NOAA videos)
Listen live to Orcasound hydrophones
Watch live and recorded video from the Lime Kiln State Park webcam (The Whale Museum)
Watch for orcas and other marine mammals along the Whale Trail
Life cycle of a Pacific Salmon (5 min NOAA animation)
- Eba + the Orcas is a fun and inspiring 10-minute film by the Seattle Aquarium with Eba, a dog that can sniff out orca scat on the water; Dr. Giles; Chris Morgan (of the podcast THE WILD)...and me! You can read more about Eba and Dr. Giles in my book, SUPERPOD.
- Fun quiz! I made this for the Seattle Aquarium: Which southern resident orca are you most like? Take our quiz to find out!
Lighthouse at Lime Kiln State Park, along the Whale Trail.
Ways to help the Southern Resident orcas
Watching spawning salmon on the Cedar River Salmon Journey (credit Nora Nickum)
Increase salmon abundance:
Choose sustainably harvested seafood at grocery stores and restaurants. You can use the Seafood Watch tool.
Help reduce underwater noise and disturbance:
Out on the water, follow the Be Whale Wise speed and distance regulations and guidelines at a minimum.
If you're in WA or BC, report any whale or dolphin sightings to the Whale Report Alert System, which will warn ship captains so they can avoid hitting the animals. Download the WhaleReport app to your smartphone or fill out the short form.
Listen live to Orcasound hydrophones, browse historical recordings, and join in as a community scientist.
Check out other action ideas at:
Orca Action Month events page (every June)
Orca Network action card (PDF)
Whale Scout's monthly #OrcaHero action checklist
Friends of Lime Kiln Society (F.O.L.K.S.), for ways to support Lime Kiln Point State Park, a great platform for inspiration, education, research and stewardship
You'll find many more ideas in the back of my SUPERPOD book!
Teacher & learning
Curriculum ideas and links for learning
Transient orca passing by Lime Kiln State Park (credit Nora Nickum)
A Teacher's Guide to SUPERPOD: This guide, designed to accompany the Superpod book and align with Common Core State Anchor Standards, has classroom activities, games, book discussion questions, and more!
Explore common sounds of the Salish Sea by clicking the animals and other objects in this panoramic soundscape (Langley Whale Center & Orca Network)
Use the Center for Whale Research's app to identify whales by their saddle patch patterns and dorsal fin shapes
Lesson plans from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
Grade 4 Life Sciences Unit on the endangered Southern Resident orcas created by the Bainbridge Island School District (NGSS-aligned)
Read my story in Cricket magazine (for 9-14 year olds), "Underwater music." Zara saves a young orca's life from afar by listening to streaming pod calls. Art by Agnes Loonstra.
Read my article in Muse magazine (for 9-14 year olds) about how scientists are discovering orca friendships: "From the air: Drone views of whales deliver some surprises." (Used by permission. © 2022 Cricket Media.)
Listen to the SeaDoc Society's Pod of Orcas podcast.