Migration journeys of 1,000-plus miles are never to be taken for granted. So the news that Piping Plover duo “Monty” and “Rose” are back brought delight across the city this week. Here’s a roundup of social media posts and news coverage, with a few of my comments, and a reminder to be cautious around the birds if you do visit the beach. Most gratifying of all was seeing the plovers using their new habitat addition when I visited on Wednesday.
First, some beautiful portraits of the Charadrius melodus pair from Ashlee Rezin Garcia of the Chicago Sun-Times.
We may have done the impossible…earn New York City’s respect:
Chicago ParkDistrict @ChicagoParks👀One-half of the federally endangered Great Lakes #PipingPlover duo, Monty and Rose, returns for the 3rd consecutive year. Rose, the female piping plover, has been spotted back on the newly expanded Montrose Beach area. 🙌 Read more at https://t.co/Nztf0GcNIN https://t.co/LYgtOI5A74
My first time being subtweeted by the Park District (honors and privileges!):
Bob Dolgan @bobdolganConfirmation this is Rose, back from Florida for a 3rd year in Chicago👇 https://t.co/LTFXhhSzNr
Piping Plover fandom crosses international boundaries:
Chicago ParkDistrict @ChicagoParksIt's official! Monty, the other half of the Great Lakes Piping Plover duo, is back in Chicago. https://t.co/Om6e2bcHK0
People just love these birds:
Agreed, 1,000 percent this:
Block Club Chicago @BlockClubCHIAfter wintering in Texas and Florida, endangered piping plovers Monty and Rose have reunited at Montrose Beach. 😍 https://t.co/FEYAtuxV46 https://t.co/sgam5TRExX
Local media outlets got in on the act, too. The Chicago Tribune’s Morgan Greene has been on this story from the very beginning, just a couple of weeks after the plovers landed in Chicago. She spoke extensively with Dr. Francesca Cuthbert of the University of Minnesota and the Great Lakes Piping Plover Research Team and local plover fans Patricia O’Donnell and Mark Kolasa, who first saw Rose on Sunday. Link to story.
WTTW’s Patty Wetli has chronicled the plovers and the need for a habitat addition all winter long. Site Steward Leslie Borns spoke for many by adding how nerve-wracking it was waiting for Monty to arrive after Rose did. Link to story.
Block Club Chicago’s Joe Ward has covered the plovers consistently, too, as part of his Uptown-Edgewater-Rogers Park beat. Link to story.
ABC 7’s John Garcia visited Montrose Beach just as Monty returned on Monday. This may mark the coinage of a new term for the duo, “Chicago’s first fowl couple.” Link to story.
The Chicago Sun-Times’ Zinya Salfiti included comments from Louise Clemency of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Chicago office. Link to story.
There were also mentions on CBS 2, WGN TV, Chicago Public Radio and others.
Wednesday was a cold, blustery day, and yet there was a steady stream of onlookers, photographers and well-wishers at the beach. It’s great to see so much interest, which undoubtedly is an overall positive. The birds also need some space, though. It’s easy to forget they are critically endangered (even as Monty flew right up to me as if to say hello). Wildlife officials decided to close off the entirety of the dunes to the public for now as the plovers prepare for nesting. If you do go, remember to abide by the American Birding Association’s Code of Birding Ethics:
(b) Avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger. Be particularly cautious around active nests and nesting colonies, roosts, display sites, and feeding sites…Always exercise caution and restraint when photographing, recording, or otherwise approaching birds.
Celebrate Piping Plovers with a free sticker!
Now for some more fun stuff. I want to thank my frequent collaborator Bill Fogarty of Black Coffee Pictures for coming up with the design for this sticker to celebrate plovers. Bill came to the premiere of “Monty and Rose” at Music Box Theatre in November 2019 and, like so many, became smitten with the birds and was intrigued by their story. He designed the label for Piping Plover Pale Ale when it was released last year by Imperial Oak Brewing. He’s also going to be developing motion graphics for “Monty and Rose II,” which is coming this fall. Thank you, Bill, and I’ll see you for a backyard cold one soon.