Marine mammals are highly adaptive and smart – give them a date and meal, then count on them showing up again next year. But, how do they know?
A few years back, a big bull stellar sea lion was fitted with a smart tag in early February in the Columbia River by Bonneville Dam. The tag communicated the location of this sea lion any time it surfaced within range of a cell tower. He left the Columbia River in a hurry immediately after the tagging unpleasantries. Within weeks he had passed the north end of Vancouver Island. By mid-March this big bull found his way to Sitka Sound just in time to feed on massive numbers of spawning herring. Marine mammal biologists see no coincidence in the timing. That sea lion swam to Sitka Sound in March, along with many others, because of the bounty of herring to eat. But how did he know?