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BIRD SANCTUARIES

The places they rest their wings. Chicago's bird sanctuaries offer visitors an opportunity to connect with nature.

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MONTROSE BIRD SANCTUARY

More than 300 different species flock to this ten-acre bird paradise every spring and fall. Tens of thousands of migratory birds make this Lincoln Park sanctuary their seasonal home. The area's signature attraction is "The Magic Hedge," over 400-feet of trees and shrubs that are enormously (and rather inexplicably) popular for migratory birds. Common species at this particular location include:

  • Warblers
  • Sparrows
  • Purple Martins
  • Woodpeckers

Starting in the 1950s, the Army leased land at Montrose and built a pair of barracks. Honeysuckle was planted to camouflage the structures from public view. Years later, the honeysuckle remained and is now a vital part of the "The Magic Hedge." During the 80's and 90's, birding organizations cooperated with the Chicago Park District to plant more bird-friendly shrubberies including serviceberry, fragrant sumac and nannyberry viburnum.

McCORMICK BIRD SANCTUARY

The six-acre bird sanctuary was built in 2003 as one of a handful of Park District-run nature preserves along the lakefront. The habitat provides food, shelter, and a much needed rest stop for the millions of birds that migrate along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Along the north end of the sanctuary is a beautifully maintained prairie with wildflowers and grasses. The plant life was carefully selected to include species with fibrous roots and ones that can adapt to shallow soil. The prairie sits atop a parking garage that services the McCormick Place Conference Center.

BILL JARVIS MIGRATORY BIRD SANCTUARY

This eight-acre woodland and wetland habitat is a favorite amongst Chicago's resident feathered flyers. It also serves as a valuable feeding ground for migratory birds en route to northern breeding grounds. Carefully selected vegetation supports a diverse array of species including:

  • Herons
  • Wood Ducks
  • Hawks
  • Hummingbirds
  • The occasional fox or coyote

A fence prohibits visitors from entering the physical sanctuary, but a nearby viewing platform has become a popular destination for bird watchers. With houses designed specifically for purple martins, onlookers often catch these beautiful creatures bringing food to their young. At dusk, a bat house provides more than enough opportunity to catch a frenzy of winged mammals. Community volunteers keep the ecological health of the site by scattering native seed and meticulously removing invasive species.


McCormick Place Complex
2301 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60616
312 791-7000
Chicago Park District
541 N. Fairbanks Ct.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 742-7529
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