I saw my first migratory Eastern Phoebe of 2017 this morning, 12 March, at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, thus kicking off spring for myself over a week early. Over the last ten years my average first phoebe has been the 21st of March, meaning that this bird was a full nine days earlier than average and beat last year’s first phoebe by six days. It’s also the earliest I’ve had over the last ten years. (That’s the phoebe from two years ago in the image above.)

As I have for the last several years, I will now ask the same question of midwesterners and northeasterners that I ask every year: When did you see your first Eastern Phoebe of 2017? And was it late or early?

In the last ten years I have seen my first phoebe of the year on dates ranging from a 12 March (this year’s) to a relatively late 31 March. Early first phoebe of the year is good but the predicted nor’easter might make it tough for early arriving birds to survive. Regardless, I was happy to see the tail-wagging harbinger of spring migration and I can’t wait for everything else to get back too! Below are my first dates for the last ten years if you are really interested in such things…

2017 – 12 March

2016 – 18 March

2015 – 28 March

2014 – 29 March

2013 – 24 March

2012 – 15 March

2011 – 19 March

2010 – 31 March

2009 – 15 March

2008 – 21 March

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Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy, their son, Desmond Shearwater, and their indoor cat, B.B. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.