UPTOWN — Famed piping plovers Monty and Rose have laid eggs at Montrose Beach, the third-straight summer the bird couple has sought to rear chicks at the popular lakefront park.
The endangered pair of Great Lakes piping plovers laid three eggs this week at the beach, according to a Chicago Park District news release. Park District workers confirmed the presence of the eggs Thursday morning and erected a wire enclosure around the eggs to protect them from predators like raccoons and skunks, a district spokesperson said.
The eggs were found in a portion of the beach that was just added to the adjacent Dunes Natural Area. Park District officials added the 3-acre area of beach to the protected area because it has been Monty and Rose’s favored nesting and foraging ground for three years.
The area where the birds have nested was roped off to the public last month, giving Monty and Rose space free of humans to find the perfect nesting spot.
It appears the effort has worked, as the birds have successfully nested at the lakefront park for a third consecutive year.
Rose may still lay one more egg, as four eggs is a usual clutch size for piping plovers, according to the Park District.
After wintering in the south, Monty and Rose returned to Montrose Beach in April, delighting Chicagoans who have rooted for the birds’ successful attempts to nest in the city.
The bird couple has successfully nested along the beach for the past two years. Their presence at the beach in 2019 marked the first time a pair of endangered piping plovers had chosen to nest in Chicago since 1955.
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 spring and summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The eggs are likely to hatch in a month. The USDA Wildlife Service has installed a camera to monitor the conditions of the nest, according to the Park District.
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