Chicago Ecological Services Field Office

Midwest Region


Map of Chicago Field Office counties of responsibility.






Ecological Services

We work with public and private entities to conserve and restore Chicago metro area endangered species, migratory birds, wetlands, and other important fish and wildlife resources.



For questions about CITES permits, and importing wildlife and wildlife parts, please contact the USFWS Chicago Wildlife Inspection Program (847) 298-3250


The Chicago Ecological Services Office supports Black Birders Week! 

Monty courts Rose

Chicago Field Office Biologists at Northerly Island

Photo by USFWS


The Chicago Ecological Services Office supports #BlackBirdersWeek2021!


Our biologists went out to Chicago Park District's Northerly Island on the south side of Chicago to snap a photo of ourselves birding.


We represent all levels of birders and are always learning- get out and have some fun looking for birds!


If you want to participate in #BlackBirdersWeek2021 you can check out the schedule at Black Birders Week 2021 Schedule — Black AF In STEM and see posts and recordings from some really great presentations.




Monty and Rose have returned to Montrose Beach!

Monty courts Rose








Monty courts Rose at Montrose Beach

Photo by Rankeya Datta

After wintering in Texas (Monty) and Florida (Rose), Chicago’s piping plover pair are back at Montrose Beach. 


Last year, Monty and Rose fledged three endangered Great Lakes Piping Plover chicks, marking the second year that the piping plover pair has successfully fledged chicks at Montrose Beach. Two of the chicks were reported by birders last week, one in Florida (Esperanza) and one in Georgia (Nish).


The piping plovers are identified by unique color bands placed by the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery effort banding team.


Rose and Monty returned to a larger natural area this year thanks to the Chicago Park District and the volunteer stewards of Montrose Dunes.

Learn more about these endangered piping plovers and the recovery effort




Chicago’s Piping Plovers fledge three chicks at Montrose Beach

Esperanza spreads their wings

Esperanza spreads their wings

Photo by Raed Mansour

On July 11, 2020, Monty and Rose’s three endangered Great Lakes Piping Plover chicks reached fledging age, marking the second year that the piping plover pair has successfully fledged chicks at Montrose Beach. This exciting news leads to hope that they may return in future years to have more chicks. The local birding groups who organized the volunteer monitoring effort reached out to people across Chicago to invite naming suggestions for the now individually recognizable chicks. The chosen names reflect Chicago’s heritage, culture, and diversity, and hope for an inclusive future:



Piping Plover






Piping plovers nesting in Chicago for a second year

A piping plover does a 'broken wing' display to try to distract people or predators from its nest

A piping plover displays to distract from its nest

Photo courtesy of Jason Steger CPD

May 1, 2020, was an exciting day, as Chicago’s two Great Lakes piping plovers were spotted together on Montrose Beach after surviving the migration to and from their wintering grounds. The pair, nicknamed Monty and Rose, successfully fledged two chicks at this beach last summer and have returned to their lakeside home to nest here again. From sightings this winter, we learned that Rose wintered in Florida while Monty was seen heading south in Texas last fall. 


Piping Plover




Two endangered Piping Plover chicks sucessfully fledged from Montrose Beach in Chicago


Eastern prairie fringed orchid

Fledged Piping Plover chicks at Montrose Beach, Chicago

Photo courtesy of Tamima Itani

On August 10, 2019, we passed a milestone with the first successful fledging of piping plover chicks in Chicago since at least 1961, when a pair of plovers were seen at Wolf Lake during the nesting season.


Hundreds of people contributed to the success of the nest, and thousands more cheered on the plovers.


Piping Plover



A pair of Great Lakes Piping Plovers have nested at Montrose Beach

A banded piping plover on Montrose Beach

Piping Plover performing a "broken wing"

display in response to nest disturbance

Photo courtesy of Tamima Itani

The birding community, led by the Chicago Ornithological Society, Chicago Audubon Society, and the Illinois Ornithological Society, quickly mobilized to recruit volunteers and establish shifts to monitor the nesting pair and share their excitement and information with other Montrose beachgoers. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources have been working with the Piping Plover Volunteer Monitors and the Chicago Park District to monitor and assess threats to the nesting pair and plan responses.


Piping Plover



"She is fighting" Stops at Montrose Beach

A banded piping plover on Montrose Beach

Migaaza at Montrose beach May 2019

Photo courtesy of Terry Walsh

This first week in May, the habitat at Montrose Beach provided a resting and refueling stopover spot for an endangered Great Lakes piping plover female named Migaaza, or "she is fighting", in the language of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. Wildlife biologists for the Odawa named Migaaza last year when they found her on High Island in Lake Michigan and banded her with a unique combination of colored bands. 



Piping Plover



Dragonfly Culture...A Continuing Education Species!

A volunteer uses a toothpick to hand-pollinate an eastern prairie fringed orchid.

After working with the Hine’s emerald dragonfly for almost 20 years, both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and University of South Dakota are finding out there is still much to learn!


Learn More »

Hine's Emerald Dragonfly




Abbott Laboratories staff lend a hand to help the eastern prairie fringed orchid

A volunteer uses a toothpick to hand-pollinate an eastern prairie fringed orchid.

Abbott Laboratories is an American health care company with its headquarters in Lake Bluff, Illinois. One portion of its large campus includes 160 acres of undeveloped land.


Learn More »

Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid





News Archives


Last updated: June 2, 2021