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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Piping Plover Help Wanted: Volunteers Needed To Monitor Montrose Beach As Birders Await Return Of Monty And Rose

The group that watches over the endangered piping plovers needs 20 volunteers who can commit two hours a week to protect the birds from predators and beachgoers.

Gov. JB Pritzker has proclaimed Nov. 18 as Piping Plover Day in Illinois.
Tamima Itani
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UPTOWN — The group dedicated to protecting endangered piping plovers at Montrose Beach is looking for more volunteers for this summer.

Chicago Piping Plovers is looking for about 20 more people to monitor the plovers’ seasonal mating location at Montrose Beach.

Monty and Rose captured the city’s heart when they nested at Montrose Beach in 2019, the first time endangered Great Lakes Piping Plovers had done so since 1955. The bird couple has returned to Montrose Beach the past three summers.

The birds usually fly back to Chicago from their winter destinations in late April. Once they land, a team of volunteers monitors the birds around the clock, trying to protect them from predators and beach goers.

Anyone interested in volunteers can apply by clicking here.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and must have their own cellphone and binoculars. Volunteers must be willing to monitor at least two hours per week for the duration of the season, about early May to late July.

A training session will take place for new monitors, and everyone will be asked to take a quiz to demonstrate they can properly identify piping plovers, other common birds and predators. The quiz can be taken as many times as needed until passed, according to Chicago Piping Plovers.

For more on the volunteer opportunity, check out the Chicago Piping Plover Facebook page.

Monty and Rose spend their winters in Texas and Florida, respectively, before heading to Montrose Beach. The chicks that are successfully reared on the beach head south for the winter before making their own migratory patterns.

Nish, one of Monty and Rose’s chicks from 2020, last year landed and nested near Toledo, Ohio. It is the first time plovers have nested in Ohio in 83 years.

Monty and Rose successfully reared two chicks last summer: Siewka and Imani. It remains to be seen if the young birds will return to Montrose Beach for the summer.

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