Wildlife and Sightseeing on Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is not only renowned for its historic charm and scenic landscapes but also for its rich biodiversity. Home to a diverse array of wildlife species, this enchanting island offers nature enthusiasts a captivating glimpse into the wonders of the natural world. Sightseeing on Mackinac Island will provide no shortage of vibrant and beautiful wildlife.

Avian Abundance and Birdwatching

Mackinac Island boasts an impressive avian population, with over 200 species of birds recorded on the island. From majestic raptors soaring overhead to colorful songbirds flitting among the trees, birdwatchers are treated to a spectacular showcase of avian diversity.


  • Fierce and majestic, eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls can all be seen on Mackinac Island. Some of these, like the striking Great Horned Owl, are year round inhabitants. Most, however, are occasional visitors. Among these are peregrine falcons, bald eagles, ospreys, and the broad-winged hawk.

Aquatic and Coastal Birds

  • Around the shores of Mackinac Island and floating in the beautiful waters of Lake Huron, you may see such a variety of birds as geese, loons, ducks, herons. These birds are also migratory, so the summer is a perfect time to see them before they head south for the winter. Some even fly as far as the Caribbean or South America!

Other Birds

  • The interior of the island is also home to a plethora of different bird species. Indigo buntings, cedar waxwings, bluejays, robins, yellow warblers, and each of the many varieties of woodpecker are all beautiful birds, and there many more species too numerous to list in this guide.

Mammals on Mackinac

Being an island, Mackinac Island is harder for mammals to reach than any of the other groups of animals listed here. Still, with some quiet waiting and watching, you may see some of these on your visit to the island.

White-Tailed Deer:

  • One of Mackinac Island's most beloved inhabitants is the white-tailed deer. With no natural predators on the island, these gentle creatures roam freely throughout the wooded landscapes, enchanting visitors with their graceful presence.

Eastern Cottontail Rabbits:

  • Eastern cottontail rabbits are a common sight on Mackinac Island, often spotted darting among the shrubs and grassy meadows. These elusive creatures add to the island's charm with their adorable appearance and playful antics.

Red Foxes:

  • Foxes are elusive and thus quite the rare sight on Mackinac. Still, there's always a chance of catching a glimpse of these beautiful and evocative creatures.

Reptiles and Amphibians


  • Painted turtles are always a pleasant sight, especially with their bright red and yellow markings. But there are other turtles on the island too! The most common of these are Blanding's Turtle and the common snapping turtle. We recommend you give the latter some distance if you run across one. Their bite is significantly worse than their bark.


  • There are several species of frog on Mackinac Island in a wide range of sizes. From the large American Bullfrog to the sneaky Gray Treefrog to the tiny Spring Peeper, Mackinac Island is home to ten types of toads and frogs.


  • If you're a person that loves snakes, you may get lucky enough to see some of the ten species that call Mackinac Island home. These include the common garter snake, and the much more vividly colored ring-necked snake, smooth greensnake, and eastern milksnake. If you're not a snake person, you have nothing to worry about. Snakes are much more scared of you than you are of them and it's unlikely that you will encounter any of these unless you specifically go looking for them.

Conservation Efforts

Habitat Preservation:

  • Dedicated conservation efforts ensure the protection of Mackinac Island's pristine natural habitats, safeguarding the island's wildlife for future generations to enjoy.

Environmental Education:

  • Environmental education programs and interpretive tours offer visitors an opportunity to learn about the island's wildlife and ecosystem dynamics, fostering a deeper appreciation for nature and conservation.

Personal Responsibility:

  • To ensure this rich ecosystem is here to visit and enjoy for generations to come, please be respectful and careful with all of the wildlife on Mackinac Island. Even if they are the cutest thing you have ever seen, we ask that you refrain from picking up, taking, or generally touching and interacting with the local wildlife. Observation is the best way to enjoy these creatures and preserve them for the future.