Chicago’s beloved piping plovers, Monty and Rose, are expecting again, with three eggs spotted in the couple’s nest, officials confirmed Thursday.
It’s the third year the plovers have bred at Montrose Beach. The couple arrived at Montrose, one day apart, in late April from their winter homes.
This year’s nesting site is particularly special, with the birds situated in the middle of a new 3.1-acre habitat addition the Chicago Park District only just designated as protected land this April, said Leslie Borns, Montrose Beach Dunes steward.
“If you build it, they will come,” said Borns, who was on her shift as a plover monitor when the nest was confirmed by Brad Semel of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “That has been my mantra at the dunes for 21 years, but these iconic birds reinforce it like nothing else.”
Fencing has been in place around the entire dune area to block public access while Monty and Rose chose their nesting site. Portions of the dune may be reopened to the public, but the section surrounding the nest will remain off-limits.
A wire enclosure has been set up around the nest to protect it from potential predators, while still allowing Monty and Rose to move in and out to forage for food. Webcams have been installed so that wildlife experts can monitor the nest. It’s possible that Rose could lay another egg, with four being the typical clutch size for piping plovers.
Eggs typically hatch in a month. Monty and Rose fledged three chicks in 2020 and two the year prior.
Plover monitors, who work two-hour shifts in pairs, are still needed. More information is available online.