The majestic forests and beautiful parks in the Petoskey Area make it home to incredible birding. Whether you prefer to venture out by yourself, as a couple, or as part of a group, you’ll find the huge variety of species and stunning environment make this a birdwatcher’s heaven.

Raptor Fest

Be on the lookout for raptors! From April 7-9, nearby Mackinaw City will host the annual Mackinaw Raptor Fest. Visitors can celebrate this species at the festival –  an entertaining and educational showcase to promote public awareness and knowledge of raptors and water birds, and the significance of Mackinaw City and the Straits of Mackinac during migration.

Educational sessions include topics on Golden Eagles, Raptor Identification and Bird Photography, among others. Live birds will be presented at the Wings of Wonder session. Special nighttime events will be held at the Headlands Dark Sky Park.  Please visit the website for a complete schedule of events at

Sunset Coast Birding Trail

Raptors aren’t the only birds delighting visitors in the Petoskey Area. The Sunset Coast Birding Trail, which is in the works with locations in Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet Counties, will include a wide variety of protected areas and habitats that attract Michigan’s over 400 bird species.

Whether it is a pair of nesting, federally endangered Piping Plovers, a Snowy Owl visiting for the winter, or the many warblers and waterfowl that pass through the area on their way to and from their breeding grounds, the tip of the Northwest Lower Peninsula offers exciting birding opportunities. Local parks, nature preserves, and natural areas make prime birding locations easily accessible and highlight local conservation efforts.

The trail features 30+ primary sites noted as hosting a variety or certain species of birds. It provides information about birding in this region and highlights sites that provide prime birding opportunities. Printed maps will be available at local chambers of commerce in the spring. A more extensive list of locations can be found on

Birdwatching is a great way to take in the beauty of the Petoskey Area and the surrounding communities. Come follow this exciting new trail, opening this spring!

For lodging assistance, please visit or call 800.845.2828.


About the author

Diane Dakins is passionate about all the lakeside communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of northern Michigan: Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor and Boyne City. As assistant director of the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, she has “been there – seen that” when it comes to virtually every area attraction. Her blogs give potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.