Three days ago the first Eastern Phoebe of the year was sighted in Winnebago County at Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve, a wonderful yet often busy birdspot. With Red-winged Blackbirds calling on nearly every country road fence post, Eastern Meadowlarks singing at Rock Cut State Park, it feels like Spring is finally here.
A cool fact about Eastern Phoebes:
In 1804, the Eastern Phoebe became the first banded bird in North America. John James Audubon attached silvered thread to an Eastern Phoebe’s leg to track its return in successive years. – Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Of course, in a few months Eastern Phoebes will be abundant but the first one of the year is always a pleasant treat. They winter in the southern U.S. and summer in all of Illinois.