UPTOWN — Chicago’s two youngest piping plover residents have officially been named as they get ready to head south for the winter.
Monty and Rose’s chicks are now named Imani and Siewka, the Chicago Audubon Society announced Friday from Montrose Beach. The organization asked for name suggestions from neighbors before a committee selected the winners.
Imani is Swahili for “faith.” The name was submitted by Dori Levine in hopes of having faith in the longtime survival of the species.
Siewka (pronounced shiv-KA) is the Polish name for plover. It was submitted by Aerin Tedesco in honor of Chicago’s large Polish community.
Both chicks have purple bands on their legs identifying them as from Chicago. The aluminum bands also have nine-digit identification numbers. Imani also has an orange band with a yellow star. Siewka has an orange band with a green star.
The naming ceremony took place as the young plovers are expected to successfully fledge in the coming days. “Fledging” is when a young bird grows wings capable of flying before migrating for their winter habitat. Monty and Rose usually spend the winter in Florida and Texas.
Some of Monty and Rose’s chicks are now making news of their own. Nish, one of Monty and Rose’s chicks born last year at Montrose, has landed and nested near Toledo, Ohio. It is the first time plovers have nested in Ohio in 83 years, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“We’re excited to see where the chicks from last year nest and from future years, and we’ll be looking for them on the wintering grounds when they leave us soon,” said Jennifer Johnson of Audubon Great Lakes and Chicago Audubon Society.
Imani and Siewka were hatched earlier this summer at Montrose Beach, after parents Monty and Rose returned to the North Side lakefront for the third consecutive year to mate.
Monty and Rose in total laid eight eggs this year, but Imani and Siweka are the only survivors.
After arriving from their winter homes to Montrose Beach this summer, Monty and Rose made a nest and laid four eggs. But that nest was attacked by a skunk, which ate the birds’ eggs.
The plover couple rebounded and made a new nest, laying four eggs. Three of them hatched naturally, but the fourth was rushed to Lincoln Park Zoo where it was hatched with the help of zoo staff. That was the bird named Siewka.
The family of four were reunited in July, but two of the chicks have since died, likely at the hands of predators.
Piping plovers are a federally protected species. In 2019, Monty and Rose first landed in Chicago, making it the first time piping plovers chose to nest in the city in five decades. Their arrival was a local sensation, even causing a beachfront music fest to be canceled that year.
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