Editor's Note: This post was originally published on May 11, 2017 and has been updated with the most recent information.
Like the swallows return to the Mission San Juan Capistrano, the goats returned to Angels Flight this week.
As the tradition goes, the goats are brought to chomp away at old brush, weeds, and anything that might be flammable in the area underneath the Angels Flight Railway, the iconic funicular that runs up and down Bunker Hill, between Hill and Olive.
In past years, the goats have also visited the hilly Angel’s Knoll park, right alongside Angels Flight. But that was not the case this year, says George Gonzales of Ranchito Tivo Boer Goats, the Chino-based company supplying the animals.
This year, the adorable goats are on Bunker Hill specifically to clean up Angels Flight in preparation for its scheduled reopening this summer.
The funicular has been out of service since 2013—but is set to get back up and running by Labor Day.
Gonzales says his company donated the service to Angels Flight Railway Foundation, the nonprofit that owns the landmark. The cars will be repainted and an emergency walkway will be added to the funicular before its reopening.
The tradition of using goats to do Angel’s Knoll brush clearance dates to 2008. Back then, the Los Angeles Times explained, “It only takes about a week for the goats to clear the knoll, and at no extra charge they fertilize the land naturally.”
The job is tailor-made for goats, who will famously eat anything, and can easily handle the sometimes steep terrain in the area around and beneath the railway.
Gonzales says that he had 26 goats working on the Angel’s Flight site since Monday. Today is their last day in Downtown.
See some of our favorite photos of the cute goats at work: