Imani the plover has 2 guests at Montrose Beach

Less than a day after being spotted by birders at Montrose, Imani has been joined by a male and a female plover at his North Side nesting grounds, sparking hopes that he’ll mate this year.

SHARE Imani the plover has 2 guests at Montrose Beach
Piping plover Imani walks near the area sectioned off for the endangered species on Montrose Beach on Wednesday.

Piping plover Imani walks near the area sectioned off for the endangered species on Montrose Beach on Wednesday.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Love may be in store for Imani, the endangered piping plover of Montrose Beach.

He struck out finding a mate last season.

But less than a day after being spotted by birders at Montrose on Wednesday, Imani has two new friends at his North Side nesting grounds — although he has been acting oddly around them.

A second male plover was first spotted at the beach Wednesday afternoon, according to Tamima Itani, volunteer coordinator of the group Chicago Piping Plovers.

Birders suspected it was the male seen earlier at 57th Street Beach.

But by Thursday morning, a female plover was spotted at the beach — lighting a fire under the hopes that Imani may finally mate.

“Two male plovers and one female plover. Who will she choose? This is the dating show I want,” wrote Twitter user BoHo Chicagoan.

But Imani’s behavior has puzzled local birders this week.

First, Imani did a courtship dance to the other male, tilting his body and scraping the sand, Itani said.

And when the female arrived, Imani began acting territorial and pushed them both away.

“I was wondering this morning, is he a sworn bachelor? Because he’s pushing the woman away,” Itani said.

There may be more going on than birders understand.

It’s still not certain the newest bird is female, but birders suspect that is so because of its blended-colored beak and the gap in its black headband, Itani said.

They won’t know for sure the other bird is female until they nest and breed, Itani said.

Imani is the offspring of Monty and Rose, whose choice of nesting at Montrose Beach prompted bird advocates and the city to cordon off beach space to shield the endangered and federally protected piping plovers.

The effort ultimately torpedoed the Mamby on the Beach festival in 2019.

Monty died at Montrose Beach in May 2022 after volunteers saw him behaving oddly and stumbling. Rose hasn’t returned to Montrose Beach and is feared dead.

The endangered species number fewer than 10,000 worldwide.

Itani said “it’s mind-blowing” that their offspring has returned to the same beach after they nested there three years in a row.

“I hope he ends up settling down with a female and nesting,” Itani said. “It would be very rewarding.”

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