Three endangered piping plovers that hatched from eggs incubated at the Lincoln Park Zoo have been released into the wild, the Zoo announced today.
Workers for the Illinois Department of Natural Wildlife found the eggs in a nest in an isolated area of the Lake Michigan shore.
The nest had apparently been abandoned by adult birds, so the workers removed the eggs and brought them to the zoo. The three chicks hatched at the zoo and were then sent to a rearing facility at the University of Michigan Biological Station, a zoo press release says.
They were released at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Friday.
The discovery of the nest marked the first piping plover sighting in Illinois since 1979.
Officials say there are only 70 breeding pairs left in the Great Lakes region.