Endangered piping plovers Monty and Rose have returned to Chicago's Montrose Beach for the third year running:
The pair of endangered, migratory Great Lakes piping plovers have been spotted at Montrose Beach, the couple’s preferred mating ground for their third straight summer. The female Rose was discovered near the beach and natural dune area Sunday, while Monty’s presence at the North Side lakefront park was confirmed Monday afternoon, local birder Bob Dolgan said.
“It’s very exciting,” Dolgan said. “There are no guarantees when birds are traveling 1,000 miles. Hopefully this is the start of another successful summer for the birds.”
The bird couple has successfully nested along the beach for the last two years. Their first effort to nest at the beach resulted in a conservation effort, which caused beach volleyball games to be relocated and a music festival to be canceled.
Last year, the birds had the beach free of human interaction, as much of Chicago’s lakefront was off-limits during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
But this year’s effort could be aided by the Chicago Park District’s recent decision to expand the plovers’ favored nesting grounds.
Earlier this month, the Park District approved a plan to add just over three acres of Montrose Beach to the adjacent Montrose Dune Natural Area. The beach’s easternmost portion — which Monty and Rose have chosen as their yearly nesting and foraging ground — has been absorbed into the natural area.
Monty and Rose, sittin' in a tree...or on the ground...whatevs. Nice to have them back.