The inimitable Piping Plover duo “Monty” and “Rose” are back as of Monday. The news delighted many, especially since Monty was a day behind schedule. Migration journeys of 1,000-plus miles are never to be taken for granted. Here’s a roundup of coverage from this week.
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 likely more.
I was at Montrose on Wednesday. It was a cold, blustery day, and yet there was a steady stream of onlookers, photographers and well-wishers. 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.
Now some more fun stuff. I want to thank my frequent collaborator Bill Fogarty of Black Coffee Pictures for coming up with this design 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 frosty soon.