Santa Barbara Island hosts the largest breeding population of Xantus' murrelets in the United States. The tiny chicks leave their steep hillside nests when only 48 hours old and tumble down into the crashing surf.
Providing a refuge for California sea lions, harbor seals, and northern elephant seals, Santa Barbara Island ranks third among the Channel Islands in importance as a haul-out and breeding area for pinnipeds.
The most conspicuous of the native plants, the giant coreopsis, is now thriving and recolonizing the island. Dry, brown, and seemingly lifeless during the summer and fall, the coreopsis may reach 10 feet tall in the island’s canyons.