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2020 Flier

To help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch has canceled the April Mackinaw Raptor Fest. 


When that threat vanishes, we will consider re-scheduling the Fest for the fall of 2020 so you can enjoy the hawk and owl south-bound migration. 


Please check back in June for an update.  Thank you for understanding the situation and for your interest in raptors. 


To help with either the Fest or other MSRW committees, email info@mackinacraptorwatch.org to learn more.

Student Scholarships Available!

See the Registration Page to learn more and apply.

What you’ll enjoy at the fifth annual Mackinaw Raptor Fest.  

·         Camaraderie with old and new friends

·         Meet and Greet Reception

·         Hawk or Waterbird Watching with Interpreters all weekend, conditions permitting

·         Educational booths and handouts from Birding Trails to land conservancies

·         Superb indoor educational programs

·         Silent Auction

·         Merchandise featuring Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch and identifying hawks in flight

·         Live Raptor Program, Dinner, Student Scholarships, Wind Under Wings Award

·         Field Trip Choices

Please contact info@mackinacraptorwatch.org with any questions.

The Mackinaw Raptor Fest Committee

strives toward the following goals


     *Provide an entertaining and educational showcase to promote public awareness of the significance of Mackinaw City and the Straits of Mackinac to bird migration. 


     *Promote knowledge and positive public attitudes towards raptors and waterbirds and their importance to the environment.


     *Bring regional, national, and international attention to the Straits of Mackinac.


     * Identify and encourage visitors, volunteers including Board members, financial supporters for MSRW, and advocates for raptor conservation.


     *Generate ecotourism revenue for the Straits area and net proceeds for MSRW.

This year we thank professional photographer Tony Dunaske for donating the logo image of a Red-shouldered Hawk.  For 35 years, Tony has honed his raptor photography skills while teaching Photography at North Central Michigan College.  He presented Raptor Photography sessions at the first Mackinaw Raptor Fest in 2014.  Earlier, Tony had served as Owl Banding Project photographer for ten years at Cheboygan State Park in partnership with Professor Kathy Germain and Ed Pike.

     Mackinaw City, Michigan, located at the junction of two peninsulas and two Great Lakes, creates a unique confluence of migrating birds every spring and fall. The Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch (MSRW), a non-profit organization, was founded in January 2014 primarily to research and educate people about raptors. It is building upon 20 years of owl research and three previous years of hawk counts in this region by independent biologists who largely volunteered their time.


     Of all bird types, raptors and waterbirds most excite people and fire the imagination with their wonder, majesty, special adaptations, and abilities. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service public survey found that more people travel to see them than any other type of birds.


Weather Note


Dress for 20 to 30 degrees colder along the lake and be prepared for cold rain or snow. It is nearly always windy, so outer wind-proof layers, winter coats and boots, warm hats and scarves are recommended. Bring a lawn chair for comfort while watching, as well as binoculars, spotting scopes, or cameras.