Piping plovers return to Montrose Beach with 4 new chicks

The popular piping plovers have returned to Montrose Beach, captivating crowds with the arrival of four new chicks.

It all began as a love story between two birds in 2019, and now their legacy continues. Great Lakes piping plovers had disappeared from Chicago's beaches for roughly 50 years until Monty and Rose appeared five years ago.

Now, their son Imani has returned to Montrose Beach to welcome his own chicks. His mate, Sea Crest, a captive-reared piping plover previously released here, recently laid four eggs that all hatched in the last 36 hours.

The Chicago Park District and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources are involved in their conservation, along with the Chicago Piping Plovers volunteer group, which has bird monitors keeping an eye on the chicks until they fledge.

Tamima Itani, the lead volunteer coordinator for the Chicago Piping Plovers, has been on this journey with the plovers since she first spotted Monty and Rose.

"So rare that when I told people that there was a piping plover pair scraping here, they were like, 'Oh, they will never succeed here. We haven't had a pair nesting at Montrose in our lifetime.' And it was a total heartbreak when they both passed away. But it's so nice to see that their son Imani, who actually hatched here at Montrose, is now having his own chicks here at Montrose," Itani said.

Bird watchers have flocked to Montrose Beach to catch a glimpse of the endangered birds. Visitors are asked to respect the boundaries set at the beach to give the chicks the best chance to fledge. Watchers hope they, too, will one day return.