Maybe you will have heard of — or been to — Chicago’s superb birding hotspot the “Magic Hedge” inside the Montrose Level Fowl Sanctuary. It’s a improbable web site to observe birds close to the Lake Michigan shoreline, particularly throughout migratory seasons.
However do you know that, for the final decade or so, Illinois has had one other “magic” hotspot? It’s recognized informally because the “Magic Stump,” and it’s actually a tree stump that could be a chook magnet in the course of a farm subject a number of hours’ drive south of the Windy Metropolis.
Birder and filmmaker Bob Dolgan, who made two documentary movies about Chicago’s Piping Plovers “Monty” and “Rose,” has created a brand new documentary concerning the tree stump — and the birds and birders it attracts in.
“The Magic Stump” is an interesting and pleasant 20-minute documentary that options the Coles County tree stump that has attracted at the very least a half-dozen species of wintering birds of prey, together with two rare-for-Illinois Prairie Falcons. The stump, the remnants of an Osage orange tree, serves as a looking perch and roost web site. It sits on non-public farmland three hours south of Chicago and turns into the point of interest for birders from across the state and nation.
The movie options native consultants Tyler Funk, Ron Bradley, and David Mott as they recount monitoring the falcons and discovering the stump. The story is customized from Funk’s article, “Prairie Falcons of Coles County, Illinois” that appeared within the Summer time/Fall 2017 version of the Illinois birding journal, Meadowlark. Funk later positioned a path digicam close to the stump that gives distinctive entry to the raptors on this unlikely setting.
“The Magic Stump” will make its Chicago debut Sunday, October 2, at 6 p.m. at Unusual Floor Edgewater, with a seated dinner exhibiting with dinner and drinks accessible. Dolgan shall be readily available to introduce the movie and share two different latest birding video tales. Dolgan’s movies on “Monty” and “Rose” have been accepted to a number of movie festivals and broadcast on public tv in Chicago and Detroit. “The Magic Stump” is the primary of three movies Dolgan is planning as a part of “The Prairie State” sequence on the habitat that after dominated Illinois.
Prairie Falcons are western North America’s solely endemic falcon species and are principally recognized from the Rocky Mountain states, primarily present in sagebrush steppe. A couple of have wintered in Illinois by means of the years, however none with the frequency and visibility of these close to the stump. Different species featured within the movie embody Northern Harriers, Tough-legged Hawks, Merlins, and a Snowy Owl.
The movie’s first screening occurred in Charleston, Illinois, on September 24, close to the placement of the stump, in partnership with nonprofit land belief Grand Prairie Pals. Different screenings are slated for Willow Springs at Imperial Oak Brewing on October 4; DuPage County (October 13), Chicago (October 27, digital), Mattoon (December 2), Decatur (December 3), Springfield (December 15), and Will County (January 12). Dolgan says the movie will ultimately be accessible on Vimeo.
Dolgan wrote a “Hotspot Close to You” report concerning the Magic Stump for our November/December 2022 problem. We’ll publish it on our web site quickly.