Understanding how migratory animals respond to spatial and temporal variation in habitat phenology is critical for identifying selection pressures and tradeoffs at different life history stages. We examined the influence of breeding habitat phenology on life history timing of the eastern willet ( Tringa semipalmata semipalmata ) across a latitudinal gradient of breeding sites on the east coast of North America. To describe migration and life history timing, we deployed light-level geolocators on willets at breeding sites in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maine, USA and evaluated additional data on life history timing and migratory connectivity from previous studies, eBird and band recoveries. Willets from Nova Scotia to Georgia winter exclusively on the Atlantic coast of northern South America and share common stopover sites. The timing of wintering site departure, breeding site arrival, nesting and southbound departure was later for birds breeding at higher latitudes while the duration of all life phases was similar across sites. Regardless of latitude, nesting corresponded with a consistent stage of seasonal salt marsh biomass accumulation and with peak spring temperature acceleration (GDD jerk). Temperature acceleration and salt marsh biomass were closely correlated with each other across the 11° latitudinal gradient we examined and with the timing of nest initiation across the northern 6° of this gradient. For this northern 6° of latitude, these results suggest that the timing of migration and breeding events in the annual cycle of eastern willets is constrained by a phenological "green wave" of spring salt marsh productivity at breeding sites.