Birders Flock to Mackinaw City for Spring Raptor Watch

Eagles, falcons, hawks and all sorts of birds are now making their way north through Canada.

Mackinaw City is considered one of the best places to watch them and the Straits of Mackinac are especially important for migration research.

“There’s very little known about migration and the corridors that these birds use,” Adam Bradley, said.

A lot is still unknown, but the rest is to be discovered and Mackinaw City is the area of choice for birders.

“This is McGulpin Rock, it’s still covered in snow but that’s the true point right there,” Bradley, pointed out.

Adam Bradley drove all the way from Reno, Nevada.

“This part of the peninsula of Michigan happens to funnel the birds into this area,” Bradley, said.

Draped in warm clothing, peanut butter in bag, Adam’s mission is fairly simple.

“To the best of my ability, I’m identifying the birds and counting each one of them that’s going by this point,” Adam, explained.

That’s right every bird that flies over the straits.

It’s not much pay but it’s for research that can tell a lot about our planet.

It’s actually scientific data that people use and query to write research papers.

“Whether its raptors, water fowl, avian point counts, birds are an important indicator of the health of our planet,” Adam, explained.

While Adam spends his day by the blue ice, just south a group is looking for bigger birds.

The Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch are keeping count of birds of prey, like eagles, hawks and falcons.

“It’s a long-term monitoring program that will keep an accurate count of what’s going on,” Kevin Georg, said.

If birding is a bug, Kevin Georg has caught it.

“I’ve been pretty much all over the country, and its fun to do you meet a lot of cool people,” Georg, said.

Kevin is from Pennsylvania, he was an iron-worker at a steel mill before he was injured on the job and laid off.

“I was really into hawk watching and then I got injured at work and then I had to recuperate,” Georg, said.

A couple bird feeders and binoculars later, this is Kevin’s 5th trip to Mackinaw City.

And every spring trip, he’s gathering information as important as the last.

“Whatever affects them, will affect us eventually, it’s a good thing to monitor them as time goes on,” Georg, added.

Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch is a non-profit organization based in Petoskey, to learn more about who they are and what they do, click here.