My first sighting of an Eastern Phoebe each year is, for me, when spring officially begins. I finally got my first phoebe of the year yesterday, Saturday, 19 March, a mere eighteen days after the first phoebe of the season was reported in New York City. I actually ended up seeing two examples of Sayornis phoebe at Alley Pond Park in Queens yesterday and even got a kind of lousy) shot of one to share with you! Spotting my first phoebe is both a relief because winter is over and a letdown because there is only one first phoebe each year and they are never exciting as anticipation makes them seem they should be. Though astronomers will say that today is the first official day of spring I (and now you) know better. Spring is when the phoebes come.
my first phoebe of 2011
Though I am glad that I beat last year’s first phoebe sighting by nearly two weeks, seeing my first on the 19th is exactly average for me. In the last five years I have always seen my first phoebe in March, specifically on the 3rd, 26th, 21st, 15th, and 31st. Average them and you get 19! I guess 2011 will be a standard year of birding for me.
Assuming you live in an area where they occur and don’t winter, have you gotten your first Eastern Phoebe of the year and when? And, if you don’t get Eastern Phoebe or if they winter, what species do you use as your sure sign that spring has arrived?