I saw my first migratory Eastern Phoebe of 2019 this morning at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Actually, I saw my first five phoebes there, perhaps the most I ever saw in one location for my first of the season. For me, it is now officially spring! Over the last ten years my average first phoebe has been the 22nd of March, meaning that this year’s bird was five days earlier than average and nearly two weeks earlier than last year’s.

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 2019? 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 (2017) to a relatively late 31 March (2010). Though it took me until today to see my first migratory phoebe I did see one in Queens in January at Mt. Hebron Cemetery (just above) but that was clearly a bird attempting to winter, not a two-month-early migrant. I was seriously happy to see the tail-wagging harbinger of spring migration  today and now 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…

2019 – 17 March

2018 – 30 March

2017 – 12 March

2016 – 18 March

2015 – 28 March

2014 – 29 March

2013 – 24 March

2012 – 15 March

2011 – 19 March

2010 – 31 March

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 and Desmond Shearwater. 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.