Schedule/Programs/Field Trips


Friday April 5

4:30 to 7:00 pm

Evening Early Registration and Meet and Greet Reception, Holiday Inn Express

Saturday April 4

8:30 am to 7 pm


8:30 am

Mackinaw City School

Registration and Coffee


9:00 am

Opening Session


9:15 am

Plenary talk: “Adaptations for Raptor Flight” by Josh Haas. 

As predators and meat-eaters, raptors must first capture their prey.  How is that done and how easy is it?  This talk will wow you with the many adaptations that allow birds of prey to master their challenging lifestyle.  Special features include their body and wing shapes, weight, and feathering patterns.  These and other structural and physiological factors result in spectacular feats of flight by raptors, from tail chases to dives from great heights.


10:15 am

Five Breakout Session Choices


“Bald Eagles in Michigan” by David Cuthrell.  Description to come.


“MSRW Past and Future” by Richard Couse. Description to come.


“Raptors and Climate Change” by Will Weber.  Description to come.


“Cultural Significance of Eagles to Odawa People” by Netawn Kiogima.  Description to come.


“Introduction to Raptor Migration in the Great Lakes “ by Russell Edmonds

An introduction to Raptor Migration in the Great Lakes region geared toward new hawk watchers.  Why are migrating raptors concentrated at Mackinac in the Spring and at Detroit in the Fall?  What other hawk watch sites are in the Great Lakes area?  Where can I find historical data to help plan my next hawk watching trip?  How is the migration data collected at these sites used and how can it help with better understanding hawks and how to protect them?  This talk provides an introduction to hawk migration in the region, the tools used to record migration data, and a greater appreciation for the efforts of hawk watchers around the Great Lakes. 



11:15 am

Four Breakout Session Choices


“Hawk Watching: A Novice-Friendly Hawk Identification Experience” by Bob Pettit.  

Hawk watching is a thrilling type of birdwatching. Learn to identify hawks in flight during migration. This workshop highlights using binoculars, recognizing hawk types, learning flight characters, discovering flight ID clues, and comprehending migration mechanics. You will receive ample handouts, learn how raptors behave in flight, and hear about experiencing raptor migration. You will become more skilled in hawk identification and better appreciate the migration, beauty, and role of birds of prey.


“Odawa Tribal Research on Emmet County Eagles” by Bill Parsons.  Description to come.


“Raptors and Climate Change” by Will Weber.  Description to come.


“Estimating Population Size of Golden Eagles using Pennsylvania Hawk Count Data and Statistical Models” by Andrew Dennhardt


Estimating population size is fundamental to the conservation and


management of rare species. This talk reveals how hawk-count data combined with computer models yielded estimates of Golden Eagle population size in eastern North America. Dennhardt’s Master's thesis work revealed that 24% of Golden Eagles migrating through Pennsylvania in autumn would fly close enough to a hawk-count site to be counted.  On average, approximately 55% of such eagles would be actually detected by hawk-counters. His research concluded that 5,000, give or take 1,300, Golden Eagles migrate through Pennsylvania in autumn. This analysis provides the first quantitative estimates of the size of the eastern Golden Eagle population, and it demonstrates a unique approach that uses citizen-science (hawk-count) data and statistical models of migration to address a pressing conservation goal—population size estimation.


12:00 pm

Lunch at Restaurant of your choice (list provided)


1:45  pm

Keynote Presentation

“Red-shouldered Hawks in Michigan" by David Cuthrell.


3 pm

Four Breakout Session Choices


“Raptors in Flight: Photography Tips” by Josh Haas. 

Hawks in flight pose big challenges to aspiring bird photographers.  Tricky lighting and erratic raptors often seem like they want nothing more than to avoid the camera.  Josh Haas will share some of his favorite techniques for capturing inspiring images of hawks in flight and getting around tracking and focus issues.  He will share his favorite spots for the best photo opportunities and tell how to prepare for your days of photographing hawks.


“Owl Research in the Straits of Mackinac” by Ed Pike

When the hawks roost at dusk, owls take over the migration flyways.  Learn about these birds and the information gleaned from 30 years of spring and fall banding studies in the Straits region.  MSRW now hires contractors to study these birds.  Ed Pike will share stories and data from banding more than 2,000 owls of nine species: screech, northern saw-whet, long-eared, short-eared, boreal, great gray, barred, great horned, and snowy.


“Mackinac Bridge Then and Now” by Kim Nowack.

In this presentation, you will learn about the history of Straits area transportation and the planning, design, and building of the Mackinac Bridge more than 60 years ago.  Ms. Nowack will describe the extensive short and long-range plans for maintenance on the bridge for safety and structural purposes.  She will also cover bridge-related current events.


“Introduction to Raptor Migration in the Great Lakes “ by Russell Edmonds

An introduction to Raptor Migration in the Great Lakes region geared toward new hawk watchers.  Why are migrating raptors concentrated at Mackinac in the Spring and at Detroit in the Fall?  What other hawk watch sites are in the Great Lakes area?  Where can I find historical data to help plan my next hawk watching trip?  How is the migration data collected at these sites used and how can it help with better understanding hawks and how to protect them?  This talk provides an introduction to hawk migration in the region, the tools used to record migration data, and a greater appreciation for the efforts of hawk watchers around the Great Lakes. 



4:30 pm

Live Raptor Program with Michigan Avian Experince

St. Anthony’s Church


5:45  pm

Pizza and Pasta Buffet

Silent Auction

Wind Under Wings Award



Sunday April 5

Field Trips

Hawk Research Viewing with Interpreters



Sunday April 5

5:30 to 12 pm

Field Trips To Be Announced