UPTOWN — The life of Monty and his mate Rose will be celebrated at their summer home in Montrose Beach after the male piping plover died last week.
The Monty memorial will take place at 6 p.m. May 25 at Montrose Beach, along the fence that separates the beach from the protected natural lakeshore area. The event will honor Monty, Rose and their family, Tamima Itani, lead volunteer with Chicago Piping Plovers group, announced Tuesday.
Monty died Friday, weeks after returning to Montrose Beach for a fourth summer. A volunteer bird watcher saw Monty collapse, and he was taken to Lincoln Park Zoo to determine what happened.
A spokesperson for the zoo said a necropsy is underway. The zoo expects to announce findings in a week or two.
With Monty’s death and Rose’s absence from Montrose Beach so far this year, bird watchers and volunteers are set to memorialize the piping plover pair that captured Chicago’s heart and advanced ecological causes in the city.
“They just have a really sweet personality,” Itani said after Monty’s death. “Monty had so much — he had so much character. He was used to busy beaches and navigated them very well. Sometimes he would literally come and land on the wall, not too far from us, and show off.
“It was like he was the king of Montrose. He just had so much personality.”
Monty hatched in June 2017, so he was just shy of 5 years old, Itani said. Piping plovers do typically live to be about 5, Itani said, though she has seen some get as old as 16.
Monty and Rose fascinated Chicago when they first nested at Montrose Beach in 2019, becoming the first Great Lakes piping plovers to nest in the city since the ’50s. They returned in 2020 and 2021 to raise chicks.
The birds caused a beachside music festival’s cancellation and the addition of acres to the Montrose natural preserve area, among other advances in natural preservation since their arrival.
Some of Monty and Rose’s chicks have gone on to nest in areas where, like Chicago, piping plovers are a rarity.
At the memorial for the birds, volunteers will recite stories of Monty and Rose, their experience advocating for the birds and how to further the cause of ecological preservation in Chicago.
For more on the planned commemoration, click here.
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