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Humpback whales are filter feeders and have baleen plates that line the roof of their mouth.  The whale lunge feeds and engulfs an enormous volume of water and fish which extends its throat pleats out. The baleen acts like a comb or strainer and the whale pushes the water out keeping the fish in its mouth. Over several hours of continuous foraging a whale can consume over a ton of herring or other small fish.  This feeding behavior requires the whales to spend time at the surface catching their breath for several minutes between bouts of feeding which allows excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.

Whale watching is a part of every trip on the Fjord Express to Juneau excursion. Image by Gary Jacobson.