On walkabout a while back, I came across this handsome fellow. He was cool, calm and most of all, receptive. So I moved in for a closer look and he remained unperturbed. For the next several moments, the two of us checked each other out—quizzically, but not unkindly. While I practiced slow breathing, he engaged in staccato head turning. Examining me first with the left eye and then the right eye and then back to the left eye.
I wondered if I looked better in one eye or the other. I wondered if he understood that my little cooing sounds were meant to please him. Did he feel my affection? Did he like me? No way to know of course, but then I am an unrepentant speculator when it comes to the thought processes of our fellow species.
In general, we are prone to attributing all manner of "humanisms" to our fellow creatures. We give them names, talk baby talk and assume they understand that better than our normal speech. We want them to "get" us. We seem to need that—even if they don't. And yet, I believe affection is universally expressed by living beings. It is a material need... and one that transcends the material. No infant would thrive without it. So Crow Baby must "get" that I am sending affection his way.
While I occupied myself with these sentimental but fruitless attempts at cross-species communion, my companion grew bored and flew off.