Earlier this summer I told you about Monty and Rose, two piping plovers that decided to take up residence at Montrose Beach in Chicago.
It was a remarkable occurrence for a fragile bird species that has been on the verge of vanishing from the Great Lakes region. But today, as summer winds down, the news from Montrose is good…remarkably good.
Two of the chicks from the clutch of four eggs were successful, and the two fledglings are currently preparing to leave the beach and migrate south. This has not been seen in our region in over half a century, and there are reasons to celebrate the victory.
But we need to recognize the time, the effort, and even the costs behind this success.
Since Monty and Rose came to Montrose in early June, 185 volunteers contributed over 1200 hours to help protect the birds and the habitat surrounding their nest.
In addition to this volunteer effort, the beach was impacted. Volleyball courts needed to be relocated. A music festival was cancelled. And visitors were restricted from accessing the nesting area.
Clearly, it worked…this time.
Much more is needed to support these and other endangered species. So what I have learned from the success of these two very small birds is that conservation and respect for the environment takes time, effort, and sacrifice. But what I see in these two plover chicks -- as they run across the beach and learn to fly -- is that all of this is worth it.
I’m David Gunkel and that’s my perspective.