Skip to content

‘Magic Stump’ documentary highlights Illinois raptor hotspot


    Maybe you’ve heard of — or been to — Chicago’s superb birding hotspot the “Magic Hedge” throughout the Montrose Level Hen Sanctuary. It’s a unbelievable 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 hen magnet in the course of a farm area 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 in regards to the tree stump — and the birds and birders it attracts in.

    “The Magic Stump” is a fascinating and pleasant 20-minute documentary that options the Coles County tree stump that has attracted no less than 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 focus for birders from across the state and nation.

    The movie options native specialists Tyler Funk, Ron Bradley, and David Mott as they recount monitoring the falcons and discovering the stump. The story is tailored from Funk’s article, “Prairie Falcons of Coles County, Illinois” that appeared within the Summer season/Fall 2017 version of the Illinois birding journal, Meadowlark. Funk later positioned a path digital camera 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 obtainable. Dolgan might be readily available to introduce the movie and share two different latest birding video tales. Dolgan’s movies on “Monty” and “Rose” had 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” collection on the habitat that after dominated Illinois.

    A Prairie Falcon perches on a utility pole close to the “Magic Stump.” Photograph by Ron Bradley

    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 embrace 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 situation of the stump, in partnership with nonprofit land belief Grand Prairie Buddies. 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 obtainable on Vimeo.

    Dolgan wrote a “Hotspot Close to You” report in regards to the Magic Stump for our November/December 2022 concern. We’ll submit it on our web site quickly.

    Learn our e-newsletter!

    Join our free e-newsletter to obtain information, photographs of birds, attracting and ID suggestions, and extra delivered to your inbox.

    Signal Up for Free