While the Straits of Mackinac usually serve as a mighty barrier for many of the mammals that dwell on Mackinac Island , Michigan winters can indeed alter the situation, allowing some of the larger mammals, such as wolves, bears, and deer, to reach the mainland via an ice bridge. So, unlike the isolated isles of warmer climates, this 2,200-acre island is less of a biological vacuum. In fact, many of its seasonal visitors are migrant birds, who use this popular migration spot as a resort habitat in the spring, while en route to summer homes in the north.
Although Mackinac Island also attracts seasonal recreationists, such as hikers and bikers, bird-watchers are especially fond of this enchanted place. In late April and early May, you’ll spot golden eagles, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, and broad-winged hawks flying above. Yellow warblers, American redstarts, and indigo buntings arrive in summer.
Along the shoreline, you might also see herrings, cormorants, great blue herons, loons, and Canadian geese. Even wintertime guests will be treated to bird sightings: Beautiful snowy owls and great gray owls often fly south from the Arctic to savor the comparatively warmer climate of Mackinac Island .
Of course, some bird species stay here year-round, including cardinals, blue jays, black-capped chickadees, and large red-crested woodpeckers. The difference between them and many other native inhabitants is that they’re here by choice. They can spread their wings and leave at any time — unlike coyotes, for instance, which must wait for an ice bridge to form before making their escape.