In extraordinary video footage taken on a whale-watching trip, four killer whales are seen harassing a seabird, even kicking it around like a soccer ball.
Wildlife photographer Chase Dekker captured the amazing sight Monday while on a boat from Sanctuary Cruises Whale Watching in Monterey Bay in California.
"We originally found these whales near Moss Landing as they were feeding underwater, and when we found them again two hours later, they were harassing a rhinoceros auklet," Dekker wrote on the Sanctuary Cruises Whale Watching Facebook page:
"As you watch the video, look for the whales as they somersault their way around the bird, blow massive bubble streams to scare it, and at one point three of the whales join together in a small meeting underneath the bird as the biggest female flies by."
Additionally, the orcas used their tails to flip the seabird into the air.
"Even with other birds in the area, these orcas continued to pursue this auklet for over 20-plus minutes," Dekker wrote. "What they were likely doing is teaching the younger whales in the pod how to hunt by using an easy target such as a small bird."
Reaction from commenters on Facebook was amazement.
"I have seen many whale videos but nothing like this," one wrote. "Incredible!!!"
Others asked, "Why did the bird hang around?" and "don't birds fly?"
A rhinoceros auklet is related to puffins and are known to breed on the Farallon Islands off California. According to Audubon.org, the rhinoceros auklet dives and swims powerfully underwater to prey on fish and flies fast and long distances in the air, but "its takeoff appears clumsy and laborious," which explains why it couldn’t just easily take off flying.
Fortunately Dekker reported good news regarding this seabird soccer ball: "You will all be relieved to know that the bird did survive!"
Read more about killer whales on GrindTV