No Decision Made On Mamby On The Beach, Piping Plovers

Volunteer monitors discuss phenomenon of Piping Plovers at Montrose Beach

Mike Krauser
July 12, 2019 - 12:36 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Chicago Park District Board heard from both sides in the piping plover controversy this week:  The promoter who wants to stage a concert on Montrose beach and activists who are threatening to sue because of a pair of nesting endangered piping plovers.  

A final decision has not yet been made. 

WBBM Newsradio visited the beach on Friday and found a handful of birders watching the pair, protected by fences on the sand.


“It’s really spectacular that we get to monitor them and that they’re hanging out here on our beach,” said Lauren Barshesky, one of three volunteer monitors organized by the Chicago Ornithological Society who were at the beach when we stopped by. 

WBBM Newsradio: Just making sure that nobody’s messing with them? 

“Yep," she said.

Volunteer Bill Branson said, “It’s pretty phenomenal.  Everyone here is amazed.  We’ve had a ton of volunteers.  It’s created a lot of enthusiasm.  And the birds are, you could say they’re lovable.  They defend their nest, they chase other birds away like they go after the killdeer, or even ducks, so they’re very dedicated parents and it’s quite something to watch.” 

The birds have been named Monty and Rose.

Four eggs from their first nest were taken to the Lincoln Park Zoo before the nest was inundated. They didn’t thrive. 

The birds have another, with four more eggs, further inland on the sand.   

Jeff Skrentny is also a volunteer monitor. 

“This is a real special occurrence," he said. "First time in 50 years that we’ve had a pair attempt to breed here at Montrose Beach. The piping plovers at Montrose beach are one of 67 pairs of birds that are breeding in the Lake Michigan population, the Great Lakes population.  Last year there were 71 pairs. Back in 1997 we were down to only 12 pairs.” 

None of these birders wants to see a concert on the beach.