MONTROSE BEACH — This week, bird watchers at Montrose Beach were thrilled to see the return of endangered piping plovers to the beach’s bird sanctuary. These adorable little shore birds are back, including Imani, the offspring of popular plovers Monty and Rose. Bird experts believe Imani has returned to either start a family of his own, or to avenge the death of his father, Monty, in 2022.
“The migratory paths of piping plovers cover a large swath of North America,” said Dr. Harold Nguyen, 54, an ornithologist. “These birds’ migrations lead them from the Great Lakes to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Most are motivated by season or food sources, but some plovers, like Imani, just migrate for revenge.”
Imani was born at Montrose Beach in 2021 and returned for the first time last season, seemingly looking for answers. Over the winter, he’s been difficult to track, but some experts say his migratory path could have taken her to Florida, where he could have trained for revenge with one of the state’s many martial arts dojos or militia groups.
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“Piping plovers will seek out secluded beaches along the southeast coasts to live during the winter season,” said Dr. Nguyen, “but we believe Imani likely headed to the strip malls of Florida to find someone who would teach him the way of the blade.”
The young plover has been seen frequently this week, often standing at the shoreline staring at his reflection in the water as if pondering the path of violence he’s walking, or practicing fighting stances with a bird-sized katana. Some have even seen him building a nest of red yarn, connecting to pictures of various birds, predators, and public figures that might have been responsible for his father’s death.
“They said that Monty died from a fungal infection in his lungs,” said Olive Cortland, 32, a “but seeing Imani out there throwing tiny shurikens at a target shaped like a skunk, I’m starting to wonder if there’s more to the story. Why now? Where’s Rose? Is there an animal criminal underworld under the bird sanctuary, like some kind of Redwall-style mafia?”
With Imani back at Montrose Beach, bird watchers are excited to get a glimpse of the rare bird, but have been warned to keep their distance.
“We encourage fans of Imani to give him space, or risk being caught in the crossfire of whatever storm is coming,” said Dr. Nguyen. “A lot of us might feel compelled to offer him aid, but this is a piping plover matter. I’ve made the mistake of getting involved in the affairs of birds before and let me tell you, it never ends well.”
Imani is expected to remain at Montrose beach till the end of the summer, or until his thirst for revenge is quenched. He’s been spotted recently with a young male and female plover, who have sworn to die for him, and likely will.