Publish Date
Piping Plovers return to Chicago's shoreline.
Piping Plovers return to Chicago's shoreline for the third consecutive year. Photo: Chicago Park District/Tony Troche

Piping Plovers spotted at Montrose Beach Dunes

One-half of the federally endangered Great Lakes Piping Plover duo, Monty and Rose, returns to Montrose Beach for the third consecutive year. Rose, the female piping plover, has been spotted back on the newly expanded Montrose Beach area. There are high hopes that Monty, the male piping plover, will return soon from overwintering in Texas. 

For the past two years, a pair of federally endangered Great Lakes piping plovers – popularly known as Monty and Rose – has nested and reared five chicks on Montrose Beach. In 2020, the pair nested within the Montrose Beach Dunes Natural Area. The Chicago Park District’s Department of Cultural & Natural Resources has been maintaining this site as native dune habitat for over ten years.  

During both successful nesting and fledging seasons, the Chicago Park District worked in close partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and many volunteers from local birding organizations to protect the plovers and their habitat and to monitor their behavior. These partners will observe the pair should they chose to nest in Chicago again. Their return to Chicago’s shoreline is a good sign for the future of the endangered species.

On June 18, 2020, the Illinois Ornithological Society (IOS), Chicago Ornithological Society (COS) and Chicago Audubon Society (CAS) announced the hatching of three Piping Plover chicks to Monty and Rose at Montrose Beach Dunes and organized an open call to submit ideas for their names. After receiving over 300 suggestions, the names chosen for the chicks were- Nish, Hazel and Esperanza. 

Earlier this month, the Chicago Park District announced the expansion of the Montrose Dune Natural Area. An additional 3.1 acres was added to the current 12.8 acre habitat, located on the eastern end of Montrose Beach in Lincoln Park. Montrose Beach Dunes is an important area for foraging, migrating, and resident shore birds, including the federally endangered Great Lakes Piping Plover. The additional acreage also includes some open sand area that shore birds, including the piping plovers Monty & Rose, use to forage during their time in Chicago.

This addition to the Montrose Beach Dune Natural Area, located at 900 W. Montrose Harbor Dr. on the city’s north lakefront, brings the Chicago Park District’s total natural area acreage to 1,919.9 acres, scattered in neighborhoods across the city. The Chicago Park District has served Chicago residents for more than 85 years. 

NOTE: Since the publication of this announcement, Monty, the male piping plover, has also joined Rose at Montrose Beach.