Pictured here are two photos, one of a goat about to give birth to a kid on a portion of the Conservancy’s preserves that benefit Swainson’s hawk. The hawks have migrated now, so the field’s vacant state was recently enlivened when this newborn made its introduction to life on Earth. In the foreground is a guard dog referred to as “Officer Jeff,” offering his security services at a time when his charges are vulnerable (in this case, mostly to coyotes and foxes).
The second photo is of the mother and newborn where the newborn is getting its first “meal.”
No, goats aren’t one of the NBHCP’s “Covered Species.” What they do for the Conservancy is assist with vegetation management services. For Swainson’s hawks to be able to see and access their prey, vegetation height must be kept reasonably low. And for Giant garter snakes, the goats feast on bankside vegetation around the marsh complexes. Being relatively light footed, they are less likely to crush burrows than heavier animals, humans or equipment, and don’t have a heavy foot print that creates habitat for mosquitoes, all while keeping vegetation in check. This has additional benefits of reducing any need for chemical weed control and also improves worker safety (from twisted ankles for example).
All that said, goats are a part of the habitat land management team, so to speak, and it looks like we have a new team member!