For directions using public transportation visit www.transitchicago.com.
This natural area is open from dawn to dusk daily.
Located in Lincoln Park, Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary is a 15.6-acre natural area that attracts tens of thousands of migratory birds to stop for rest, food, and shelter each spring and fall. Within the natural area is “The Magic Hedge”, a 150-yard stretch of shrubs and trees, so-called because it attracts a curiously high number of migratory birds. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded at Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary and the adjacent Montrose Beach Dunes Natural Area, making it an internationally recognized area for birding. Important migrants include most species of warblers seen in the Chicago area, thrushes, sparrows, purple martins, woodpeckers, owls, and many others.
“The Magic Hedge” did not just appear on its own. In the mid-20th century, the Army leased land at Montrose and built two barracks. Honeysuckle was planted to screen them from public view. Long after the Army left, the honeysuckle, now known to be an invasive species, remained and still forms the basic feature of The Magic Hedge. Ecological enhancements to the area first began in the 1980s, with the introduction of bird-friendly native shrubs such as nannyberry, serviceberry, and sumac.
In 2015, the Chicago Park District and partners, with the input of community members and other stakeholders, created the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary Master Plan to help guide future management of the site. The bird sanctuary increased in size in 2017 with the creation of a butterfly meadow at the west end of the site. The installation of an ADA-accessible trail is planned for 2021, making it easier for a wider range of people to explore one of the most important birding destinations in Illinois.
Birding organizations continue to help with public education about the importance of the site, and much of the work that has been done to get the site to its current state of health has been through the support and leadership of dedicated community volunteers. Learn more about ways to get involved in the stewardship of this site by visiting our Community Stewardship Program page.