Humpback whales visit the Columbia River, drawn upstream by food

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A Humpback whale and her baby (R) swim in the surface of the Pacific.

ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) — Humpback whales are visiting the Columbia River this week.

Scientists say they’ve been spotted near Astoria just downstream from the bridge to Washington.

Biologist Deborah Jacques, who studies pelicans, told Oregon Public Broadcasting she’s never seen humpbacks so from the ocean.

The whales are drawn upstream by food and they have been joined by large numbers of hungry pelicans and sea lions.

Professor Bruce Mate of Oregon State University says El Nino ocean conditions are driving many sea animals toward shore looking for food.

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