Dear almost-attendees at Mackinaw Raptor Fest,
Go figure.  It was 55 degrees and sunny yesterday, with clear skies.  The snow and ice have melted around the Straits of Mackinac.  Song Sparrows, Sandhill Cranes, and Spring Peepers can now be heard near my home in Cheboygan. 

I am so sorry that none of us could experience the Mackinaw Raptor Fest field trips yesterday to see U.P. Birds or enjoy Owls and Stars.  Today, it’s raining, but you would have been inside choosing between great talks anyway.  As co-chair of the fifth Mackinaw Raptor Fest of the Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch, I feel angry at COVID-19 and am disappointed, for myself, for you, and for all the dedicated volunteers who worked so hard on this event the past year.   Yet this cancellation is insignificant compared to the suffering of others.
Mackinac Bridge Ice - photo by Steve Baker
Although you cannot be in Mackinaw City, you will be glad to know that raptors are migrating by the hundreds.   However, for counter Kevin Georg’s safety and for your safety, MSRW has closed the hawk watch to visitors for the time being.  We all are better off by staying as far away as possible from other people. 

Wherever you live, especially if in northern Michigan, look up!  You may be rewarded with great views of migrant hawks flying overhead or rising high into the air on thermals.  Seeing wildlife going about life as normal fills me with hope that humans will soon be doing the same.   With even more luck, this global challenge that has united people in concern and action will spark us to come together to address the threats posed to planet Earth through our habitat destruction, over-consumption, and other short-sighted actions.
Young Bald Eagles Cavorting - photo by Steve Baker

In Mackinaw City, contractor Nick Alioto has begun Hawk trapping and banding.  Although you cannot experience either that or the hawk count in person right now, please enjoy News and Data updates at  There you will learn the numbers and species of hawks that pass every day, tips on identifying hawks in flight, and can at least pretend you’re at the hawk watch.

Stay well, stay safe, and enjoy birds at your feeders and in your yards.  Thank you for wanting to participate in the Mackinaw Raptor Fest.  We do appreciate your interest in nature and will keep you posted on our plans, and look forward to seeing you later this spring, fall, or in 2021. 


Kathy  Bricker, Co-Chair, Mackinaw Raptor Fest
Sandhill Cranes - photo by Steve Baker
Copyright © 2020 Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch, All rights reserved.

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