Pittsburgh - Urban Bird Treaty City

The Allegheny Bird Conservation Alliance seeks to instill a deep appreciation and sense of stewardship for birds and their habitats among people that live in the great Pittsburgh area, while working to reduce bird mortalities caused by building window collisions, restoring natural habitats, and carrying out cutting edge research and education activities.

Working with goats to restore bird habitat

Urban Bird Treaty partners are restoring bird habitat within Frick Park's 115-acre urban forest. The three-acre restoration site is on Clayton Hill -- the highest point in the park and an important migratory bird stopover site, where invasive plants have degraded the forest understory. UBT partners are using goats from Allegheny Goatscape—and their browsing capabilities—to manage invasive plants as an alternative to herbicides. A variety of invasive and exotic species are targeted for removal, including bush honeysuckle that dominates the site, outcompetes native woodland species, and is a low-nutrient food source for birds. Removal of bush honeysuckle will benefit the site’s tree and plant communities, and improve the area as breeding habitat and a fuel-rich stopover site for migrants.

Goats will be "working" areas around Clayton Hill during summer and fall. After removing the honeysuckle, partner staff and volunteers will plant native trees and shrubs that provide shelter and food resources for migratory birds. Community scientist volunteers also are helping monitor and collect data through e-Bird to assess the impact of invasive removal and habitat regeneration on bird diversity and abundance.. As part of this effort, partners are carrying out education programs and volunteer training on healthy forest ecosystems and wildlife habitats to promote long term conservation awareness and action.