Talons Over Mackinac
Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch Newsletter
September 1, 2020
Note from the Editor: Welcome to the second issue of ‘Talons Over Mackinac,’ the free on-line newsletter of Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch. Feel free to share this with friends.
Fall Migration Research is Underway
On August 20, the Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch launched two components of its fall research; a count of waterbirds migrating through the Straits of Mackinac, and a count of the raptors that pass overhead.
Previous MSRW waterbird counts from 2015 to 2018 showed that the Straits are heavily used by Red-necked Grebes, Long-tailed Ducks, and Redheads during Fall migration. The first birds to come through are Red-necked Grebes in the middle of August, while the Redheads, Long-tailed Ducks and White-winged Scoters are late migrants. Long-tailed Ducks begin to pass through the area in mid-October and are still coming through when the November weather turns cold. Common Loons fly through the Straits for most of the fall, with few stopovers. Migrating waterbirds move in the early morning, then find a place to feed and rest later in the day. For some socially-distanced fun, take your binoculars to McGulpin Point in Mackinaw City or Graham Point in Saint Ignace, from 7 am to 9 am and see several species of waterbirds.