It took us a while, but last week we finally got to check out what’s what at Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary in Chicago. We’ve been living in the suburbs for a year and a half and just managed to visit the Magic Hedge for the first time the other day. Goofballs.
The Magic Hedge started as a row of honeysuckle shrubs planted along a fence on the west side of a U.S. Army barracks built here in the 1950’s. The hedge covered the first-floor windows of the two-story building. The Army left around 1970, but the honeysuckles remained.
Lakefront bird watchers noticed that the ragged row of bushes attracted masses of warblers and other birds during migration, diving in and out of the hedge “like magic,” a name that stuck and survives to this day.
Over the years, the hedge was enlarged with many species of shrubs, including serviceberry, chokeberry, sumac and viburnum. These provide seeds and fruit and attract insects for the migrant birds to eat, as well as offer more shelter.
We saw some great birds, including our FOY Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Towhee, Golden-crowned Kinglet and Hermit Thrush. Unfortunately none of them would pose for a photo. Others were more obliging.
We stopped by again yesterday, a week after our first visit. It was about 40°F cooler than the first time. A bit less birdy too, but still a great place.
Think we’ll be back.