A pair of Great Lakes Piping Plovers — an extremely rare species that is federally protected — have nested at Montrose Beach. And they have taken the birding world by storm since they were were first spotted in May. These instant bird celebrities, nicknamed “Monty” and “Rose”, will certainly have a rapt audience.

The pair have been observed courting and mating, giving bird conservationists hope that they will produced a clutch of eggs. Last year, the pair attempted to nest near Waukegan Beach, but they were unsuccessful.

If they produce a clutch, volunteers will keep watch to make sure the eggs stay safe at one of Chicago’s businest beaches. The Chicago Ornithological Society, Chicago Audubon Society, Fish & Wildlife Service, IL Department of Natural Resources and the Chicago Park District have all teamed up to help the endangered birds. A large area of the beach is roped off with signs that alert beachgoers to please stay away and not to disturb the birds.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed - and enjoy these two rarities during their Chicago stay!