The beluga whale isn’t the first animal people think of when they picture creatures that mimic human speech. But for journalist and nature enthusiast Paul English, an above-water song to the aquatic creatures resulted in the auditory experience of a lifetime.

English was out kayaking one day when he spotted a group of beluga whales out in the water.

©YouTube Screenshot | The Dodo

Hoping to draw them closer for a better look, English decided to sing the creatures a song.

“Beluga! Oh ah said oooh beluga!” he chanted, hoping his silly tunes would make the animals curious enough to drift towards his boat. Sure enough, they started floating his way, and that’s when the real fun began.

©YouTube Screenshot | The Dodo

To English’s delight, the whales began to circle his kayak, bumping the sides and swimming around and under the raft to interact as best they could with the source of their new song.

Hoping to give them more interaction, he donned a snorkeling mask and hopped into the water—and to his surprise and amazement, the animals began to sing right back to him!

©YouTube Screenshot | The Dodo

Caught on video, the whales gave a chant of their own, clicking and whistling back at English to respond to his initial song.

It was beyond his wildest dreams, but for beluga whale enthusiasts, the experience may not be as surprising as it seems.

©YouTube Screenshot | The Dodo

In 1984, a captive beluga whale named Noc told a per in his tank to get “out, out, out.” It turned out the dolphin-esque creatures share more than just a physical similarity with their fellow water-borne creatures; while beluga whales and dolphins aren’t actually related, they both boast the ability to mimic aspects of human speech.

Beluga whales are less likely to do so, and there are mixed reviews among the scientific community regarding just how long it can take to familiarize the whales with human speech patterns to incite the mimicry.

As English showed, though, it’s clear that the animals are more than willing to attempt to communicate when they feel there’s a budding friendship to be had.

While the cameras rolled, English and the whales held a nice back-and-forth concert of song, with the journalist singing to the animals and them responding in kind in a bonding experience he won’t soon forget. What a magical encounter!

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Categories: Animal

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