By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — Monty and Rose, the popular endangered piping plovers who have been nesting at Montrose Beach the past few years, lost a clutch of eggs this week, when a skunk raided their nest.

The shorebirds have nested at Montrose Beach for the past three summers, and when they returned this spring, Park District officials fenced off their nesting area to protect the endangered birds from potential predators as they recovered from their long migration.

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However, on Wednesday, a skunk reached into their exclosure and ate the three eggs the birds had laid last month, according to the Illinois Ornithological society. Monty and Rose were not harmed.

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“Monty and Rose are resilient. In 2019, they lost their nest to flooding on June 13 and by June 18 they had a second nest and an egg. In fact, birders Matt S. and Alison N. observed the plovers courting and scraping this morning,” IOS treasurer Tamima Itani wrote in a blog post. “For this reason, we will continue monitoring as scheduled. The entire dunes area will be closed again as it was before, and we will need to monitor to determine where Rose and Monty choose to re-nest. Plans are already under way for a larger exclosure.”

USDA Wildlife Services biologists installed cameras to help monitor conditions at the nest.

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Even before the birds’ eggs were eaten, the Chicago Park District was working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to craft a long-term plan for protecting the nesting area while reopening public access to the rest of the dunes and beach area.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff