Dolphin regulars return to the Outer Banks, bring their babies

Dolphin moms return to the Roanoke sound with their young. [Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research photo]

The Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research completed a research survey Saturday and found many summer “regulars” have returned to Roanoke Sound.

Throughout the day, researchers saw Fatlip with her 5-year-old calf, Kara, along with Sinatra, FB459, FB457, Mo, Larry, Lisa Caroline, Sunny and Lorna with her 1-year-old calf, Oreo, the center said in a Facebook post.

[Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research photos]
“We also saw two newborns in a group near Oregon Inlet. May and June are peak birthing times for dolphins in Roanoke Sound. Newborns are distinguished by their small size, dark color, and vertical white stripes, known as fetal folds,” the center said.

Calves are dependent upon their moms typically for three to five years, though it varies.

“Lisa Caroline did not appear to have her 4-year-old with her this year, although Fatlip’s 5-year-old does not seem ready to move out yet!” the center wrote. “Staying longer with their moms may give calves the benefit of learning more life skills, such as feeding strategies.”

All photos were taken under NOAA GA permit LOC-21932.