Hawaiian Glif swimming dolphins

Whale & Dolphin Sounds

Celebration of the Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin CD

two spinner dolphins

About this CD and Dolphins
Spinner Dolphin Pod Background Information about this CD. The Spinner dolphin sounds on this stereo CD were recorded from kayaks and small boats along the Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. About 100 hours of recordings were edited down to 60 minutes for this stereo CD. Much it was taped using a pro quality DAT recorder allowing us to capture dolphin sound frequencies up to 20,000 HZ. Most humans can only hear to 16,000 HZ.
The hydrophones (underwater mics) were custom designed in our own in-house electronics lab. On the CD you will hear the many whistles and clicks from the wild spinner dolphins. The background rain and crackling sounds are from the thousands of shrimp living in the Corel of the shallow bays and from the sounds of wave action on the ocean surface. On two of the tracks humpback whales can be heard "whooping" in the background. This is part of the natural spectrum of sounds that the dolphins live in. We kept the pure natural sounds and avoided using artificial noise reduction and other computer processing techniques. What you hear on the CD is what the dolphins hear in the shallow bays. A very special thanks goes out to artist Ari Vandershoot of Maui Hawaii for providing the water color dolphin image "The Enlighten One" for the CD cover.Listen to a sound clip or buy the CD.
CD Tracks. All tracks are pure nature sounds. We did not mix in any music on this CD.

Track one is of Spinner dolphin sounds, whistles and clicks with Humpback whales singing off in the distance. The recording was done at a remote bay when a pod of 20 or so dolphins were in a state of blissful play. This track is great for light relaxation and positive awareness.

Track two was recorded during a gathering of three pods of dolphins, over 50 individuals, in a protective shallow bay for a birthing celebration. We were so delighted when the new born dolphin came to the surface for it's first breath of air on our planet earth. Can you tell when the birthing is actuating occurring?

Track three is a mix of Spinner dolphin and Humpback whale vocalizations that will leave you blissful, peaceful and relaxed.

Dolphin Sounds. Dolphins produce clicks and whistles in the frequency range of 1000 to 100,000 HZ, the upper end being 5 times higher than what humans can hear. The dolphins use the echoes from these clicks and whistles to create a real time 3D "holographic"  image of their aquatic environment in their minds. The time delay between transmitted clicks and returning echoes from objects allows the dolphin calculate how far away these objects are. From the qualities of these echoes they gather much information.  From the intensity of the returned echoes they can determine how solid something is. The sound waves will also pass though an object and these returned echoes from the internal structure allow the dolphins to "see into objects". The frequency spectrum of echoes also is also of great value to the dolphin in helping differentiate size, density and the internal structure. Trained dolphins have shown the ability to determine the difference between a copper or aluminum penny from a distance of 3 feet. Copper is more solid than aluminum which means  the return echo signature will be slightly different. Movement of things in their realm, such as fish or sharks, can  be determined  from the frequency shifts of the echoes. If the frequency content of the echo is lower than the transmitted whistle or click then the object is moving away, a higher frequency echo shows the object moving towards the dolphin. This is commonly known as the Doppler effect used in modern day radar and medical ultrasound.

Dolphins possess three sonic emitters, two chambers, one on each side of their bow hole and one laryngeal type that are used to transmit sound. Researchers have discovered that dolphins can control the two chambers independently. They have observed clicks from one chamber while whistles are being produced from the other chamber, complex independent whistles from both sides and independent clicks being produced from both sides at the same time . They have observed this effect when the the dolphins are using sound for imaging "seeing" and for communications. The phasing of whistles or clicks from the two sides can be useful to focus sound in a specific direction. A real time fluctuation in the phasing of of these to chambers allows the dolphin to scan their environment  in almost every direction by "lighting up with sound"  specific areas of their realm. This is the equivalent of man made phased array radar. The dolphin sounds can also be focusest through it's melon which acts as an acoustic lens, creating a tight sound beam of about 3 degrees. The use of producing independent complex sound from these chambers during communications is not yet fully understood.

The purpose of the dolphin sweeping it's whistle over a frequency range can be realized as well. It would be very difficult for the dolphin to hear an echo if it was still making the same sound as it was trying to listen for. For example, with an upwards frequency sweep  it will be "whistling" a higher note while the lower frequency echoes from the beginning of it's sweep are being received. There are also other benefits to the frequency sweep method such as  improved image resolution and detection of movement.

Spinner Dolphin Sound Graph
The above sound graph illustrates a typical dolphin sound whistle. The horizontal axis is 1.5 seconds and the vertical axis is from 0 to 22,000 HZ. In this instance the whistle, which is the darker blue horizontal line on the graph, starts at 10,000 HZ, rises to 13,000 and then returns to 12,000 HZ in 1 second. The vertical lines are dolphin clicks which get more rapid at the end of the graph.

With the creation of  Medical Ultrasonic Diagnostic Equipment (the scanning the human body with sound) we, as humans, can now measure blood flow rates in veins, we can watch the valves of a heart open and close and observe the sex and health of an unborn fetuses. We can see these images by processing the echoes from the transmitted ultrasonic sound waves and displaying them on the video display. This equipment typically uses ultrasonic sound waves from 5,000,000 to 30,000,000 HZ to produce a internal image of the human body. The higher the frequency used the easier it is to resolve image detail. These frequencies are about ten times higher than what dolphins typically use. Even with the use of a lower frequencies by the dolphins they may still have the ability to see with this same resolution because of their ability to control sound in precise complex ways and their infinitely larger computing power of their brains. Dolphins have been documented as interested in scanning pregnant mothers. There is also a documented case of a trained dolphin, who has never rammed anyone before, bruising a woman directly on the skin over the area where she had a unknown tumor. This marking action prompted  her trip to the hospital for an exam with "medical ultrasound" where they discovered the tumor. The dolphin may have saved her life.

So beware next time you go swimming with a dolphin, it will immediately know you physiological state and literally will be able to look right into your heart.

The dolphin ears have been studied and found to be much more highly complex than ours. The nerve fiber bundle from their ears to their brain is as large as the nerve fiber bundle humans have for sight. One may conclude that they hear with their ears as well as we see with our eyes.

The dolphin eye optical nerve bundle is equivalent in size to what humans have for hearing. This is about one forth  the size of the human optic nerve bundle. This  suggests that some aspects of dolphin vision is not as good as humans. They do have one incredible vision feature that we do not possess. This is the ability to focus clearly above the water in an air environment as well as in their aquatic realm. Boy, I sure would love to be able to do that! For humans to see clearly underwater we must sport a mask or swimming goggles.

The dolphin mind has been discovered to be highly complex. The brain of the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin is 1.4 times larger than a humans. The additional brain size is in the cerebral cortex which is where language, conceptual thought and learning reside.

Dolphin Communications. Dolphins "talk" to each other using a combination of clicks and whistles. Most of this occurs in the ultrasonic frequency range that is above our hearing abilities. Each dolphin has an unique name identified by it's own "signature whistle". Dolphins often start conversations by and exchange and mimic of each others name. Captive dolphins have been taught in excess of 25 human spoken words and have learned to speak these human sounds when communicating with us. Dolphins have demonstrated the ability to understand sentence structure; for example: "Take the ball to the surfboard"  Vs. "Take the surfboard to the ball". Trainers have often wondered who was actually being taught, the dolphin or the human? This author believes we have barely touched on the real intelligence of our cetacean friends.

A Typical Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin Day. The Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins of the Island of Hawaii spend their days and nights shifting between segments of play, rest and work. Sounds familiar? If we start their day at about 3:00 PM they are just waking from their sleep or rest period. Yes, they do like to sleep late, but they are night owls that stay up all night long to feed off the coast of the Island of Hawaii. One reason for this cycle is because their major food source, which lives in a deep thermocline, moves closer to the surface during the night.   Two Spinner Dolphins
The pods, consisting from 5 to 50 individuals, which have been resting during mid day in shallow bays, gather themselves up for this nighttime fishing. They travel several miles offshore and join with the pods from other local bays to dive and search for food. This feeding event consists of  hundreds of individuals cooperating to gather food for their mutual benefit.  Another reason for feeding at night is that dolphins have a great advantage of being able to use sound as sight, which most of their prey and dolphin predators do not have. The dolphins can also use the intensity of their clicks to disorientate their prey, making them an easy catch. These sound clicks have been measured to be as loud as 3000 watts. This would be 30 times louder than most home stereos at full blast. Don't worry though, they have never used this on humans.

After fishing all night the dolphins travel to the shallow bays to rest and play. Typically about 6 or 7 in the morning the pods re-enter the bays. These bays are chosen for their environment of being able to protect the pod from predators. A flat white sands bottom with good visibility is desirable. One reason is that a bay with a white sand flat bottom  provides the best contrast for their eye(s).  The dolphins shut down their sound transmission systems, relying on passive sound reception and vision from only one eye during this rest  mode. This is in direct opposite of what humans do. At night we rely on sound to wake us up in times of danger while we sleep while resting our vision systems. During the day Spinner Dolphins rest their active sound systems relying on vision and passive sound systems to wake them in case of danger. If a particular bay has low visibility due to runoff from a recent onshore rain storm the dolphins often decide not to enter that bay for resting,

Also, if a bay is occupied by other pod(s) of dolphins the entering pod may decide to move on to another bay. There seems to be a maximum carrying capacity for a given bay to that makes them feel comfortable to rest in.

Typically, from 8 AM till about 10 AM the dolphins shift from a state of interactive social play to the state of their deep rest. They rest "sleep" till about 3 or 4 in the afternoon in the bays. About this time they become very interactive and playful again preparing for their night time feeding. Of course this is all variable, who has not stayed up late or gone to bed early depending on a multitude of factors!

If you have additional research/information that you would like to contribute to this site, interested about further information about dolphins or would like to support or participate in our interspecies communications project please contact  us by email at frank@magicalislandsounds.com. A portion of every purchase of a CD goes towards research in cetacean/human communications.

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