We’ve been spotting robins in the park for a few weeks now, but apparently the true rush of birds flying north for the summer has yet to begin. The New York City Audubon Society, which celebrates International Migratory Bird Day with the 21st Annual Birdathon on May 14th, is preparing for our winged visitors by recruiting for its Project Safe Flight (mentioned here yesterday), which sends volunteers out in the wee hours to rescue birds who have flown smack into windows: often they fall to the curb, stunned but not dead, and are swept up by cleaners before they have a chance to come to!

pigeon.jpgWe feel sorry for the warblers but must point out that that’s what happens sometimes when small birds haven’t had sufficient warning about the big city. Our favorite cosmopolitan avian is the star of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!, among other books. If you work with little people or even have some of your own, you are probably familiar with The Pigeon. If you are not, you should go to the bookstore to take a peek and enjoy Mo Willems’s hilarious and energetic drawings. Entertain your friends and co-workers by learning to draw The Pigeon yourself! Willems, who worked for Sesame Street for many years, is also the author of such books asTime to Pee! and Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale. Knuffle Bunny, the story of a little girl who loses her stuffed rabbit at the laundromat, features cartoon characters whose adventures unfold against photographs of their brownstone Brooklyn neighborhood, which happens to be where Willems lives.

parrot_book.jpgIt would be remiss of us not to point you in the direction of another hot bird title for spring, Mrs. Ballard’s Parrots. At $16.95 (even less on Amazon), it is the most reasonably priced hardcover collection of full-color photographs of intricately staged tableaux starring glamorously costumed live parrots we have ever come across. As Isaac Mizrahi’s back-cover blurb has it, “I was slightly jealous that these creatures had a better sense of style than me and a better sense of drag than any drag queen out there.” Inside you will find a Dean Martin parrot surrounded by a bevy of lady dolls, hairy-chested parrots in the boxing ring, Bonnie and Clyde parrots, and even parrots on their honeymoon. The very short introduction by Arne Svenson, the photographer into whose hands Alba Ballard’s photographs fell (via—we are not making this up—Elizabeth Taylor), is a charming testament to Internet-enabled serendipities, but words just can’t compete with pictures like these.