The Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary, also widely known as the Magic Hedge, is in Chicago, Illinois. It is a bird sanctuary with stretches of shrubs, scattered trees, and thickets that attract more than 300 different bird species. The bird sanctuary is a peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan and is known as the state’s best spot for migrants and rarities. You can reach the birding location by taking Montrose avenue all the way east to Lake Michigan.
During the 1950s through the 70s, it was home to a U.S military installation. There were two barracks that were built with honeysuckle to screen and hide them from the public view. Long after the Army left, it became a haven for migrating birds and the base feature of the Magic Hedge with its honeysuckle. In the 1980s, birding organizations and the park district began cooperating to enhance the bird-friendly location. Birding organizations continue to help with public education about the importance of the site.
Now known as one of the top birding locations in Illinois, the Magic Hedge now has converted non-native bluegrass to taller native grasses, serviceberry, chokeberry, blackhaw, and nannyberry viburnum, fragrant sumac, wildflowers, trees, shrubs, and other native great lakes dune/swale plants. It is an excellent location to observe migration all year-round, it is a natural corridor for migrants along the lake making it an excellent location along their migration.
Owen continues to photograph at the Magic Hedge and has been visiting since 2001. He has photographed Northern Cardinals, Red-tailed Hawks, Red-winged Blackbirds, Sandpipers, Yellow Warblers, Woodpeckers, types of owls like the Whip-poor-wills, and many more.