Full clutch of piping plover eggs laid at Montrose Beach

Piping plovers Imani and Searocket have produced a full clutch — or four eggs — at Montrose Beach, giving birders more hope for a new generation.

The first egg was found May 31 in a protected area of the beach and since then Searocket has laid three more, the Chicago Piping Plovers announced Friday.

The nest is one of 32 nests being incubated in the wild across the Great Lakes.

Chicks hatch throughout the month of June and into July, according to Great Lakes Piping Plovers.

Since the eggs were laid, the Chicago bird community has faced some challenges in trying to keep the nest safe.

“Montrose is a very public place; we are challenged daily with people entering the protected area,” said Tamima Itani, lead volunteer coordinator of the Chicago Piping Plovers group.

To keep the nest and eggs safe, people are urged to respect the closed area boundaries, keep dogs on leashes and take trash with them at the end of their beach visit.

Imani was hatched at Montrose Beach in 2021, an offspring of the piping plovers Monty and Rose. Searocket, a captive-reared chick, was released at Montrose Beach in July 2023.

Piping plovers had disappeared from Illinois beaches around 1955, according to the park district. In 2019, Montrose Beach fledged chicks for the first time since 1955.

“This grand experiment in trying to recover the iconic symbol of the Great Lakes shoreline has come full circle with the return of both wild-hatched and captive-reared young,” Brad Semel, an Illinois Department of Natural Resources endangered species recovery specialist, said last month.

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