Great Lakes piping plovers Monty and Rose lay eggs at Chicago's Montrose Beach

Fewer than 70 pairs of the Great Lakes piping plovers are known to exist
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Great Lakes piping plovers at Montrose Beach are expanding their flock!

The Chicago Park Districted announced Thursday that Monty and Rose, a pair of endangered birds, have produced three eggs at their breeding grounds at Montrose Beach Dunes Natural Area on Chicago's north side.

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The small nest is located in the sparsely vegetated sand within the 3.1 acres that were added to the Montrose Beach Dunes in April.

The Park District is working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS), to protect the nest. Part of protecting the nest includes coming up with a plan to re-open public access to other parts of the dunes when it is safe to do so.

Upon their arrival, park district officials erected protective fencing around the rare habitat to reduce foot traffic while the birds recouped after a long migration and selected a nest location.

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A wired enclosure has been set up to protect the nest and eggs from potential predators, such as raccoon and skunks, while leaving enough room for Monty and Rose to freely move in and out of the cage as they take turns incubating the eggs and feed away from the nest, officials said.

Park District officials said Rose may be expecting an additional egg, as four eggs are the usual clutch size.

This is the Great Lakes piping plovers' third summer together at the Chicago beach after arriving within a day of each other. Officials said Monty spent his winter in Texas, while Rose was in Florida.

The couple had three chicks at Montrose in 2020 and two chicks the year before, according to officials. The Great Lakes piping plover population, which was once below 20 pairs, has rebounded thanks to recovery efforts, officials said. There are now roughly 70 breeding pairs.

For more information on the Great Lakes piping plover recovery efforts, visit the FWS website.

The video featured is from a previous report.
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