“We need, in a special way, to work twice as hard to help people understand that the animals are fellow creatures, that we must protect them and love them as we love ourselves.”
– César Chávez
César Chávez loved animals, and he became a vegetarian “after realizing that animals feel afraid, cold, hungry and unhappy like we do…”. The compassion Chávez expressed for animals is consistent with his practice of non-violence and sense of justice that characterized his life’s work to gain rights for farm workers.
For those who have time to walk around the gardens and along Tehachapi Creek, and sit and listen and look, it is likely you will see birds hopping amongst tree branches, swooping out to catch an insect, seeking nectar in flowers, or soaring over the hills hunting for rodents. Sometimes rabbits hop amongst grasses and shrubs, hungry bobcats stalk them, and rarely, a black bear makes an appearance.
Currently, the monument has more detailed information about birds than other types of animals, due to annual birding events with the local Kern Audubon chapter. This list will continue to be updated through this event and eBird, and is available at the monument visitor center. A total of 83 species have been documented as of January 2020.
Visitors are likely to see the California ground squirrel, one of the most common animals at the monument. You may hear their chirping call or see them sunning on rocks or scurrying around looking for food. They eat seeds, nuts, fruits, bulbs, fungi, and stems and leaves of grasses and forbs. They also eat some insects, bird eggs, and dead animal remains. They store food in their burrows for inactive periods.
Rabbits are abundant some years, and can be seen feeding on grasses, forbs, or shrubs. In the warmer months reptiles such as fence or sagebrush lizards may be in the gardens hunting insects, and gopher snakes and rattlesnakes live in the oak woodlands and feed on rodents.
Explore the photo gallery below to see some of the animals that make the monument their home.
Last updated: March 30, 2022