Lindblad Expeditions / National Geographic
EXPLORATIONS – A Lindblad Expeditions Blog

How Will the Solar Eclipse Affect Wildlife?

By Ralph Lee Hopkins, National Geographic Photographer and Director of Expedition Photography

Big horn sheep along the Snake River, Idaho. Photo by Linda Burback.

Where will you be on August 21st?

If you’re reading this you’ve probably already made your plans. Wherever you are, and however you plan to experience the event, be observant of everything around you.

How will the plants and animals around you react to the darkened sky? Will the birds stop singing and become silent? Will frogs start croaking? About what about the fire flies?

Three of our ships, National Geographic Sea Bird, National Geographic Sea Lion, and National Geographic Quest will be plying the waters of the Inside Passage in Southeast Alaska, where the eclipse will be just less that 60% of totality. We’re all curious to know how the wildlife will react. For example will humpback whales take advantage of the darkened skies, perhaps becoming more active feeding on schooling fish and plankton that rise to the surface at night?

Want to take part in recording your observations and gathering data to add to the understanding of behavioral ecology? The California Academy of Sciences is soliciting citizen scientists to record their observations of plant and animal behavior during the event on their iNaturalist app available on the App Store or Google Play. For more information visit iNaturalist.org.

And don’t forget to wear special eclipse glasses and take pictures with your iPhone or digital camera. Google and University of California Berkeley have joined forces to compile photographs taken of the eclipse from across the country. Check out the Eclipse Megamovie 2017 project for more information.

Enjoy the show!