Know a single, female piping plover? Imani would like to meet her

Imani, the offspring of the famous Monty and Rose piping plovers, was spotted Tuesday at Montrose Beach. The bird has returned to Illinois to nest if he can find a female, bird experts say.

SHARE Know a single, female piping plover? Imani would like to meet her
Imani, a rare piping plover, stands in the area sectioned off for the endangered species Wednesday on Montrose Beach. The bird is here to nest and is in search of a female, bird experts say.

Imani, a rare piping plover, stands in the area sectioned off for the endangered species Wednesday on Montrose Beach. The bird is here to nest and is in search of a female, bird experts say.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The little gray and white bird cut a lonely figure as he picked his way along the lakeshore at Montrose Beach on Tuesday.

Perhaps he was remembering what happened last season, when he spent six fruitless weeks here, unable to fulfill his biological destiny.

“What it’s going to take is for a lovely piping plover gal to show up?” asked Tamima Itani, one of several local birders who spotted Imani on Tuesday — the first sighting of the bird since last year.

Birders were delighted to see Imani, the offspring of the beach’s famous couple, Monty and Rose. To the untrained eye, individual piping plovers might be hard to identify. But because they are endangered, most have been fitted with leg bands.

Imani is here to nest, as he was last year.

“Hopefully, this year there will be a female, and he will nest,” Itani said.

Another piping plover was spotted Tuesday at 57th Street Beach.

“Unfortunately, it seems like a very handsome male,” Itani said.

Although Imani has previously been spotted in Minnesota, Itani said she doesn’t know where he typically spends his winters.

Imani’s dad, Monty, died at Montrose Beach May 13, 2022, after volunteers noticed him behaving oddly and stumbling. Rose, the female piping plover, hasn’t returned to Montrose Beach and is feared dead.

Monty and Rose were first spotted at Montrose Beach in 2019 and returned for three seasons to mate and hatch their chicks, their once small protected area gradually being expanded into a large fenced-in space on the beach where fans of the couple would try to catch glimpses in the spring and summer.

Worldwide, there are believed to be fewer than 10,000 piping plovers left alive.

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