Meet Monty’s and Rose’s 2019 Chicks

Monty and Rose nested at the Montrose public beach in 2019. They scraped their first nest on June 4th and Rose laid 4 eggs, each 2 days apart. They started incubation, each taking turns sitting on the nest to protect the eggs and keep them at the right temperature.

Click on image to view more.  First nest and egg.  Monty and Rose taking turns incubating the eggs and tending to the nest.

All was going well until a very strong storm during the night of June 12 resulted in strong Lake Michigan storm surges.  Unfortunately, water from the lake and the rain covered the entire beach and this first nest was covered in water.  The eggs were removed and taken to the Lincoln Park Zoo, then to the University of Michigan Biological Station, in Pellston, MI, for incubation.  Unfortunately, none hatched.

Click on image to view more.  Area where nest was, under water.  Monty and Rose watched, looking distressed.

But Monty and Rose were determined, and soon scraped a nest in a different location on the beach, close to where the Barn Swallows nest each year. On June 18, Rose laid the first egg there, soon followed by 3 additional eggs.

Three of the eggs hatched on July 17 and 18. The 4th egg did not hatch. Two of the chicks survived and on August 10, 2019, when the chicks reached 24 days in age, the Great Lakes Piping Plover Conservation Team announced that Chicago had successfully fledged two Piping Plovers!  This was the first time in 71 years that Chicago and Cook County were recorded to fledge Piping Plovers.

Because the Piping Plover family was in a very busy location, with nearby volleyball courts, it was determined it would be too much added stress to capture and band the chicks. Therefore, the 2019 Montrose chicks were not banded, and cannot be identified when seen. 98% of the Great Lakes Piping Plovers are banded. 

Click on image to view more.  Photos of 2019 chicks.  Pictures are in chronological order, from first hatching on July 17, 2019, till the last time Plovermother saw the last chick to depart, on August 23, 2019.  All volunteers and visitors stayed behind a wall at a distance from the plovers, limiting the quality of photos (Piping Plover welfare is always prioritized!)

© T. Itani 2021.  All images subject to copyright and may not be copied or used without permission.

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