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Photo Courtesty Davd Kunze Photography

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Lead funding for the Mackinaw Raptor Fest 2017 is generously provided

by the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation and Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau.

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.


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.


In 2016, MSRW hired eight contractors to conduct research on migrating birds and educate the public. In early April 2016, it launched the first Mackinaw Raptor Fest, attended by 120 people. Based on its overwhelming success, MSRW decided to continue the Fest as a bird-watching and educational opportunity.


Mackinaw Raptor Fest

* Provides an entertaining and educational showcase to promote public awareness

and knowledge of raptors and waterbirds and the significance of Mackinaw City and the

Straits of Mackinac during migration.

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

* Aims to become an internationally renowned annual festival that will generate ongoing ecotourism revenue for the Petoskey/Harbor Springs/Mackinaw City area, new sponsorship for research on raptors and waterbirds, and net proceeds to further that research.

Visit Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch Website

Golden Eagle

Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk