UPTOWN — The Shedd Aquarium needs volunteers to prepare Montrose Beach for the return of Monty and Rose, the Great Lakes piping plover pair who use the beach as their springtime nesting ground.
Wildlife conservationists are preparing for the third annual return of the pair of endangered, migratory birds who have twice mated and successfully nested at Montrose Beach.
Piping plovers nest on the beach, making the tiny birds and their chicks susceptible to predators, flooding, beach debris and other harms. Shedd Aquarium will host a habitat restoration effort at Montrose Beach to make the birds’ upcoming mating and nesting season more successful.
The beach cleanup will start 10 a.m. April 11 at Montrose Beach. All are welcome to volunteer, including kids, and no prior experience is needed, according to the Shedd.
Registration is required to help enforce social distancing. To sign up for the event, email ActionDays@sheddaquarium.org.
The Shedd’s cleanup day isn’t the only effort aimed at preparing for Monty and Rose.
The Chicago Park District is considering a proposal from wildlife preservationists to add the portion of Montrose Beach favored by Monty and Rose to the nearby dunes protected area.
Adding the easternmost portion of the beach to the neighboring natural area will keep Monty and Rose safe from human activity as beaches open to public use. Recently, Ald. James Cappleman (46th) wrote a letter in support of the measure.
In 2019, Monty and Rose chose to mate at Montrose Beach, just next to the dunes preserve. It was the first time federally protected, endangered piping plovers had chosen to nest in Chicago since 1955.
The birds’ nesting area set off a conservation effort, which caused beach volleyball games to be relocated and a music festival to be canceled.
The migratory Monty and Rose returned to Montrose Beach in spring 2020. With the beach closed to the public due to the pandemic, the birds successfully nested four chicks.
The Shedd’s habitat restoration effort will be conducted in partnership with Chicago Ornithological Society, Chicago Audubon Society, Illinois Ornithological Society, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Chicago Park District.
The cleanup effort is part of Shedd’s Action Days program, which are volunteer efforts to clean up local beaches, waterways and forest preserves. For more information on the program and upcoming dates, click here.
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