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No Drought of Wildlife at Cachuma Lake in Santa Barbara

Immature Bald Eagles are seen around the lake. They are often confused with Golden Eagles.
Immature Bald Eagles are seen around the lake. They are often confused with Golden Eagles.
© Anthony Galván III

Don’t let the drought conditions in California keep you from enjoying mother nature. Santa Barbara County’s Cachuma Lake is still a great place to observe Bald Eagles, Osprey and Golden Eagles during the winter months in California.

Bald Eagles visit the lake each winter
© Anthony Galván III

The lower water levels are actually bringing more wildlife to the shores and shallow areas as they hunt for food.

Every winter American Bald Eagles and other migratory birds fly south from northern states and the provinces of Canada to winter in California’s lakes and rivers. Santa Barbara County’s Cachuma Lake is a favorite destination for these “Snow Birds” during the winter months. Osprey and Golden Eagles also make the journey south to enjoy Cachuma Lake’s warmer weather as well as the trout and bass that call the lake home.

A two hour boat tour on the Osprey around the lake offers not only eagles but other wildlife including migratory waterfowl. The 30 foot pontoon boat, the Osprey, provides a safe and comfortable platform to travel across the lake in search of raptors and other birds. In addition to eagles and osprey, White Pelicans, with their seven foot wing spans are often seen in the winter months feeding on the lake. Later in the season Western Grebes can be seen doing their mating dance across the surface of the water.

The tours are open to visitors four years and older. Two viewing platforms, fore and aft, offer photographers good viewing for photography.

Cruise fees are $15.00 for adults and $7.00 for kids 4 – 12 years of age. To make reservations call (805) 686-5050 Weekdays 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM and (805) 686-5055 After 3:00 PM on Fridays and Weekends.

Cruises run 10:00 am to noon and 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Friday and Saturday and 10:00 am only on Sundays.

Call for any last minute changes or visit the park’s website for more information on events at

Getting there:

From Santa Barbara take Highway 154 north and follow the signs to Cachuma Lake. There is an $8.00 entrance fee into the park. From Santa Maria take Highway 154 east off the 101 to Cachuma Lake.

Don’t stay home during the winter months, make your own wildlife adventure.

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