CHICAGO (AP) — A beloved, endangered shorebird named Monty the Piping Plover died Friday, a Chicago Park District spokeswoman said.
“It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of Monty, one of the Montrose Beach Piping Plovers,” said Irene Tostado of the park district.
Tamima Itani of the Chicago Piping Plovers — a collaboration among the Chicago Audubon Society, the Chicago Ornithological Society and the Illinois Ornithological Society — said Monty died Friday afternoon.
“He was observed gasping for air before dropping and passing away,” said Itani.
Monty was taken to Lincoln Park Zoo, where he will be tested. Results are expected in about a week, Itani told the Chicago Tribune.
“Monty and Rose captured our hearts in a way very few beings do,” Itani said. “Monty will be very sorely missed.”
Tweets began flooding social media Friday just after 6 p.m.
“We are saddened to share that today Monty passed away unexpectedly,” said a tweet from the official account for Chicago Piping Plover news and content.
“We are shocked and saddened to report that Monty the Piping Plover is no longer with us,” said another tweet, from the Chicago Ornithological Society. “We do not know as of yet what happened, but he is currently being evaluated by professionals.”