|Transient and Resident Orcas.|
|Based on differences in their lifestyles and food preferences, orcas are characterised as "resident" and "transient".
The majority of orcas that visit the Hanson Island area are called "residents" because their appearance in the area each summer and fall is relatively predictable. They feed on salmon, live in close and extended family groups (matrilines and pods) and are highly social. Families can be distinguished from one another by their dialects.
Transient orcas generally form smaller and more variable social groupings than residents, roam over a larger area of the coastal waters, and their appearance in particular places is not so predictable. They feed primarily on sea mammals such as seals and sea lions. The name "killer whale" probably stems from observations of transient orcas hunting.