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Birdwatchers Are Stumped

Prairie Falcon

Photo by Tyler Funk

The Magic Stump, a new documentary film short, features a Coles County tree stump that has attracted at least a half-dozen species of wintering birds of prey, including two rare prairie falcons. It will make its Chicago debut 6 p.m., October 2, at Uncommon Ground Edgewater, in a seated showing with dinner and drinks available. Filmmaker Bob Dolgan will be on hand to introduce the film and share two other recent birding video stories. The stump, the remnants of an Osage orange tree, serves as a hunting perch and roost site. It sits on private farmland three hours south of Chicago and is a focal point for birders from around the state and country.
The film features local experts Tyler Funk, Ron Bradley and David Mott as they recount tracking the falcons and finding the stump. The story is adapted from Funk’s article, “Prairie Falcons of Coles County, Illinois” that appeared in the Summer/Fall 2017 edition of the Illinois birding journal Meadowlark. Funk later placed a trail camera near the stump that provides unique access to the raptors in this unlikely setting.
A screening in suburban Chicago (Willow Springs) will take place at Imperial Oak Brewing on October 4. Others include DuPage County (October 13), Chicago (October 27, virtual), Mattoon (December 2), Decatur (December 3), Springfield (December 15) and Will County (January 12).
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