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Piping plover chicks hatch on Chicago beach

A bicyclist stops to read a sign about endangered piping plovers on Montrose Beach. Photo by Louise Clemency.

A bicyclist stops to read a sign about endangered piping plovers on Montrose Beach. Photo by Louise Clemency.

By Georgia Parham
External Affairs

For the first time in more than 60 years, there are piping plover chicks on Montrose Beach in downtown Chicago. Following a high-water event that prompted removal of the first clutch of eggs, two adults renested, and three of the four eggs hatched. One chick was lost, but the remaining two appear healthy. The adult female has headed south, as female plovers do at this point in chick-rearing, and the male remains on the beach with the chicks.

Louise Clemency, field supervisor of the Chicago Ecological Services Field Office, says the presence of chicks is not only a milestone for plover recovery, but has become one of the best outreach opportunities in recent memory.  Volunteers monitoring the plovers are stationed on a busy walkway on the beach. “Literally thousands of people walking, biking, jogging on the walkway have talked with the monitors about piping plovers and the recovery effort. It’s a massive, high-visibility outreach effort.”

A banner on the walkway alerts users that the plovers are present, triggering myriad questions to volunteers from beach-goers. Clemency says the plover monitors are well-versed in plover biology and recovery facts, making them excellent piping plover ambassadors.  

An endangered piping plover chick explores Montrose Beach in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Gordon Garcia.

An endangered piping plover chick explores Montrose Beach in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Gordon Garcia.


Last updated: September 9, 2019