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A plover parent and chick at Montrose Beach in 2019, courtesy of the Shedd Aquarium. (Credit: Susan Szeszol)

After an anxious 24 hours, bird watchers can relax: Monty, one half of Chicago’s beloved piping plover lovebird duo, has arrived at Montrose Beach Dunes, and been reunited with his mate, Rose.

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A section of open beach is being added to the protected Montrose Dune Natural Area. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Conservationists are celebrating a big win for wildlife along Chicago’s lakefront, where the expansion of a “treasured” natural area will give more room to some high-profile occupants: a pair of endangered Great Lake piping plovers, Monty and Rose.

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Great Lakes piping plovers, like the one pictured, need more protected habitat along Chicago's lakefront, advocates say. (Vince Cavalieri / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Ald. James Cappleman has joined the chorus of supporters lobbying the Chicago Park District to set aside a section of Montrose Beach as protected habitat for Monty and Rose, Chicago’s beloved pair of Great Lakes piping plovers.

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Montrose Beach Dune Natural Area on the left, and the proposed section of Montrose Beach that would be incorporated into the protected area. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago’s birding community is already preparing for the return of Monty and Rose, the piping plovers that captured national attention two summers ago when they made the surprising choice to nest on Chicago's lakefront. But will their favored habitat be secure in 2021?