Oregon Whale Watching Week is a yearly tradition, and volunteers can help you spot them at 24 sites.

KOIN 6 NEWS IMAGE - Whale watchers on the Oregon Coast in March. Gray whales are on the move, which means it's almost time for Oregon Whale Watching Week, KOIN 6 News reports.

The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department is celebrating December 27 through 31. Volunteers will be posted at 24 sites along the Oregon coast.

Watchers can head to any one of those spots between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to get tips from veteran whale watchers.

Around 20,000 gray whales migrate south from Alaska every winter. They head to their breeding grounds in Baja California, Mexico where the warm water lagoons become nurseries for the expectant mothers, according to

Whales head directly south and stay about five miles offshore. But at its peak, about 30 whales per hour pass by.

When they head north, some of the whales stay off the Oregon coast, and "about 40 hang out between Lincoln City and Newport each year because that seems to be what the food supply will support."

KOIN 6 News is a media partner of the Portland Tribune.

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