Arguably the state’s best spot for migrants and rarities, Montrose Harbor and the Magic Hedge consist of a vegetated peninsula jutting into Lake Michigan. More than 325 species of birds, including some rarities such as Kirtland’s warbler, have stopped here.
Some days can be quiet. But on other days, when the winds are just right in spring (May) and fall (September) thousands of migrants land on the trees and shrubs to rest and forage, giving birders a spectacular show.
Volunteers and the City of Chicago have been working to restore this small but important migratory hotspot. For example, non-native bluegrass has been converted to taller native grasses, attracting migrating sparrows—17 sparrow species have been seen in one day in October.
You can reach this birding hot spot via Montrose Avenue. Follow Montrose east all the way to reach Lake Michigan. At the bait shop, turn right, drive about a block, park along the street, and join the other birders.