Red-tailed_Hawk.jpgOne of the many wonderful things about the Petoskey Area is its location – not just the fact that it’s found in beautiful northern Michigan – but also its nearness to a variety of other cool towns and fun things to do.

Just 35 miles north of Petoskey and Harbor Springs is Mackinaw City – a town that teems with activity in the summer, but all but shuts down in the winter. Come early spring though, there’s quite a flap created when migratory raptors attract the attention of birders from around the country.

The Straits of Mackinac is a huge migratory area for raptors – 50,000 were counted crossing the Straits last year – including eagles, osprey, hawks, falcons, owls and vultures; and for those interested in birds/raptors, the Straits is a perfect place to come experience this awesome phenomenon! In order to share their knowledge and love of the subject, Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch is hosting the first annual Mackinac Raptor Fest on April 1-2.

This educational program begins Friday night with ‘Owls and Stars’ at Headlands Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City, which is a destination in itself. (The “Owls and Stars” program will be held again on Saturday evening.)

For guests registering for the Raptor Fest, a $40.00 fee covers a full day, including lessons in raptor photography, Native American teachings about hawks and eagle feathers, hawk watching lessons and other informative materials as well as dinner. Not interested in birds? This is such an unusual and fun line-up of activities that you may find a new passion!

On Saturday morning, a free Wings of Wonder presentation is being held at beautiful Camp Daggett on Walloon Lake in Petoskey. This is a chance to get up close and personal with raptors! Spectators should arrive at Camp Daggett by 10:15am for the 10:30 to 11:30 program.

Though many of the day’s activities on Saturday will take place near the Straits of Mackinac, guests are encouraged make room reservations in Petoskey and Harbor Springs to take advantage of the many lodging options and other activities available before and after the Raptor Fest. Accommodations for the Raptor Fest and Wings of Wonder can be found at or call 800.845.2828 for referrals.

The beauty of northern Michigan and the Petoskey Area is evident in its lakes, forests and trails, but looking to the sky here, you’ll find another kind of beauty and wonder as these mighty birds catch an airstream and soar across the Straits of Mackinac. See you at the Mackinaw Raptor Fest!

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About the author

Diane Dakins is passionate about all of the communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of 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. She strives to create informative content that gives potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.