What Makes Bird Photography at the Magic Hedge Truly Magical

Seeing birds and photographing them in all their beauty can be a magical experience, and there’s no more magical place to do it than at the Magic Hedge in Chicago.

Collection of birds from Magic Hedge

A Bird Photographer’s Escape in a Bustling City

More formally known as the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary in Lincoln Park, Chicago, this small promontory juts out into Lake Michigan and is a very convenient and popular birding location. It’s relatively small, just 15 acres, but provides a surprising diversity of habitats with the thick foliage of the forest, the open dunes, the lakefront, and the pier. For both birders and bird photographers, there’s always something good out there, you just have to know where to look.

Northern Cardinal shot at Magic Hedge

Migration at the Magic Hedge

During spring and fall migration, the trees are the place to be and every way you turn there are warblers and other songbirds jumping around. When there’s a fallout, it’s just crazy. I especially love when the spring blossoms come out, and you can get amazing shots of birds among the flowers with stunning lighting under the canopy. You also never know when a rarity might show up, offering another exciting opportunity for bird photography.

Common Yellowthoat shot at Magic Hedge

Get Close to the Birds at Magic Hedge

Don’t neglect the other parts of the Magic Hedge, however. Going out on the pier gives you a unique perspective of shorebirds and waders on the lakefront, and a great chance to practice getting down among the birds. Laying on the ground on the pier, you really get a good angle on their environment and can create a really fantastic photo. It’s so much fun and provides a very intimate look at a bird, which helps bring emotion to the photo so everyone can relive the experience.

Mourning Warbler shot at Magic Hedge

Bird Photography as Meditation

Even on slower days, it’s peaceful, quiet, and relaxing at the Magic Hedge. You can really take your time to frame a shot beautifully or to enjoy birds coming and going from their favorite perches. At those times, bird photography really can be like meditation and a way to connect with nature on a spiritual level.

Hooded Warbler shot at Magic Hedge

Even in such a huge city as Chicago, that’s what I want to do – to help people connect to nature. The more they feel personally connected to the birds, the more they will want to protect them and be engaged in bird conservation. That conservation is essential to protect places like the Magic Hedge and make nature more accessible for everyone to enjoy.