Mackinaw Raptor Fest
Due to COVID-19, future Mackinaw Raptor Fest events and dates have not been decided. Attendees of past Fests will be automatically notified with an update.
The Mackinaw Raptor Fest appeals to people who love to watch and learn about bird migration. Located in Mackinaw City, Michigan, and hosted by the Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch, the three-day event provides excellent views of migrating raptors, exciting sessions, and educational workshops.
Every year thousands of hawks, eagles, vultures, and owls follow Lakes Michigan and Huron’s coastlines, ending up at the Straits of Mackinac where they must cross a 5-mile expanse of water. To save energy, the birds use rising air drafts to lift them high in the air, and then they glide across the Straits. The Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch inventories these birds and waterfowl as they migrate and promote their observation to the public.
Interpreters will be on hand all day to help you spot and identify the birds and share them. There is no charge for this activity.
Registration will be limited to 160 people, so sign up soon after notification!
What you’ll enjoy at the next 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.
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.
PLANNED 2020 Presenters
Hello, my Anishinaabe name is Good Walking Woman, and my birth name is Netawn Alice Kiogima. I am from the Bald Headed Eagle Clan. I come to you from the Land of the Crooked Tree, Biidaasige. I am an Anishinaabe, People of the Three Fires, Odawa woman, and I am the daughter of Archie Jr. and Regina Sr. Kiogima of Waganakising. I have been married for over 20 years to Robert Smith, Ojibwe, from LCO, Wisconsin. We have two beautiful children, and we are grandparents to our first amazing granddaughter this past Fall. As native people, we are related to our dodeman or clan. Traditionally, our clan system was our governing system, and everybody had a role. The whole community was involved, and we all took care of each other. I take my Eagle Clan role very seriously, and I would love to share with you that vital part of my life and how it is relevant to our society.
Miigwech (Thank You)
Interpreters + Field Trip Leaders
Join Us By Registering
Your payment via check avoids costly transaction fees. Choose “Check” on the drop-down menu under the Payment Method when you register.
Send checks to MSRW, P.O. Box 465, Petoskey, MI 49770.
NOTE: To sign up for field trips, after entering your Payment Method, Address and Other Information, scroll down to Additional Items to register and pay for Field Trips.
MSRW offers Mackinaw Raptor Fest scholarships to up to four qualified applicants. In 2019, Student Scholars were Andrew Dennhardt, Eliana Daum, Magdalena Fanning, and Jacob Van Patten. In 2018, Student Scholars were Kelsey Becraft and Maeve Klein.
Support the Student Scholarship fund to help a student attend the Mackinaw Raptor Fest for free. Businesses giving $300 or more to fund a full scholarship will receive Raptor Partner benefits. Unused donations carry forward into the Scholarship and Education Fund for future years. No donor may specify a particular recipient. Please note if you prefer your gift to remain anonymous.
Cancellations made by 5:00 PM on March 6, 2020, will receive a full refund less a $25 administration fee.
Cancellations made by 5:00 PM on March 20, 2020, will receive a 50% refund less a $25 administration fee.
No refunds can be made for cancellations after March 22, 2020, or no-shows.
Even if the weather prevents outdoor birding, indoor activities will be held. Mackinaw Raptor Fest reserves the right to cancel, change, or substitute an event if deemed necessary.
Inclement Weather Policy
Dress for 20 to 30 degrees colder along the lake and be prepared for freezing 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, binoculars, spotting scopes, or cameras.
The Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch is a non-profit organization created to study the migratory habits of raptors and waterfowl crossing the Straits of Mackinac. MSRW holds a public Mackinaw Raptor Fest and migratory bird research in the Straits area. Volunteer photographers take photos of activities at the Fest and other MSRW-sponsored events, including pictures of participants, in an on-going effort to spread awareness of the importance of this scientific work and encourage public participation.
No public photos will be used or sold for profit. Low-resolution images are occasionally on the Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch Facebook Page, Instagram Page, or Websites. Pictures are included in press releases or print brochures.
By attending any MSRW event, you are giving consent for your photo to be taken and acknowledge that your image may appear in a photo taken at that event.
If you do not wish for your image to appear in any public photo, please inform us during check-in registration at the Fest or any other MSRW event. In the case of minor children, MSRW Event Photographers will approach parents and ask for explicit written permission before taking a photo.