Strand Feeding Dolphins!

Dolphin watching is a Hilton Head Island tradition but if you are lucky enough to witness the dolphins engaging in strand feeding you’ll take home a memory that you’ll cherish forever.  Captain Deb from Outside Hilton Head captured this footage of Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins practicing a feeding behavior knows as Strand Feeding, unique to our local Dolphin populations. The spectacular foraging behavior usually involves one to six dolphins corralling a school of fish in a tidal creek at or around low tide. Working together they track their prey in the murky waters of the creek, the dolphins circle the fish, herding them into a tighter school and toward a gently sloping mud bank. Then, with an explosive burst of speed, the dolphins create a bow wave which  throws the fish up out of the water and onto the mud bank.  The dolphins then slide up out of the water and onto the bank, scooping up the fish. They then slide back into the water and regroup to corral and strand more fish.  They usually repeat this behavior many times during the period around low tide until the banks again submerge below the water.  Young dolphin calves learn this risky behavior by watching their mothers though they rarely participate. You can book a Dolphin Watching Tour through Outside Hilton Head at 843-686-6996 and maybe you will be lucky enough to see this in person!  

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