|Piping plover on Montrose beach. (Photo by Fran Morel)|
Even birds get tired.
After a long dark flight over Lake Michigan — most songbirds migrate at night — they’re ready to flop down on the first solid ground they see.
“The sun comes up, and they will immediately look for the closest place to land where they can find shelter, and in the Chicago area that place is Montrose,” said Greg Neise of the American Birding Association.
Montrose juts out, a half-mile long welcome mat offering a smorgasbord of habitats for 300 types of birds: trees for warblers and thrushes, grassland for bobolink and meadowlarks, and of course beach, where endangered piping plovers scoop out tiny nests in the sand and lay their brown-speckled eggs.
I admit, when the piping plover saga erupted, I did not rush to the ramparts. For those late to the party, JAM is moving its “Mamby on the Beach” music festival to Montrose, raising concerns about trampled plover nests.
I like birds, but I’m not fanatical about it. There are a number of plovers, and if the piping plover goes down, well, the Wilson’s plover will do.
This callousness vaporized after my friend Tony Fitzpatrick got me on the phone. You know Tony — artist, actor, writer, general Chicago renaissance man.
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