Body Language Speaks Louder Than Words

“What’s wrong, Squeaks?” asked Momanita. “You look worried. Your crest is up.”

“The squirrels jumped towards the birdfeeder.”

For once Momanita didn’t wake me. The sun did. I whistled my “time to uncover my rolly coop” whistle. When she did, I spotted a passel of grey squirrels racing around the walnut tree. 

I don’t trust squirrels.

I knew the greedy squirrels would jump to the backyard birdfeeder and gobble sunflower seeds. Then the cardinals wouldn’t have breakfast.

I trusted cardinals.

To other hootmans this sounded like squeals and whistles, but not to Momanita. She MOSTLY understood cockatiel speak. I MOSTLY understood hootman talk.

Momanita glanced outside.

“Ah, the squirrels, right now, they’re more concerned with each other than raiding the feeder. Their fluffed tails mean ‘get out.’”

I tried to fluff my tail to tell them all to get out, but it wagged more than fluffed. 

“Also, there’s a baffle under the feeder, a kind of guard, that keeps the squirrels away,” said Momanita. “That’s how I know the birdseed is safe. I don’t trust squirrels.”

Momanita kept my millet in a plastic container in a drawer. Millet is tastier than sunflower seeds. I think my millet needed a baffle.

Monkey Business

“Your crest is one way I know how you’re feeling, Squeaks,” said Momanita. “I wonder how other animals use body language to communicate.”

When Momanita wonders, she thinks of questions.

When she thinks of questions, she looks for answers.

When she looks for answers, she needs my help.

I climbed out of my rolly coop and onto my writing nest.

“Good idea, Squeaks, let’s Google it, “said Momanita.

Momanita headed upstairs to HER writing nest. She scooted her chair to the computer and tapped the keyboard. 

I perched on top the writing nest and wondered if my millet was safe from those tricky squirrels.

“I Googled ‘body language’, Squeaks,” said Momanita. “Body language is a way you show how you’re feeling without using words. All animals use body language.”

I fluffed up and preened. I’m sure I’d hear about many of them.

“When you’re curious, Squeaks, your crest is straight up and you stretch out your neck,” said Momanita. “Humans show curiosity when they flash their eyebrows.”

“When you’re curious you Google.”

I moved to a patch of sun and listened. Later, Momanita will help me write a post about this.

Monkeys are intelligent and curious.

“Monkeys are intelligent and therefore curious,” said Momanita. “They show their curiosity especially when they’re near humans. They shake closed boxes and listen to what’s inside. I remember when we were on safari, the guides warned us to keep our suitcases locked because the baboons might steal our clothes.”

“Steal clothes! That’s worse than stealing sunflower seeds, but not as bad as stealing millet.”

Hissy Fit

“Anger is a scary feeling,” said Momanita. “When something upsets me, I feel my body tensing,”

A coiled snake ready to strike is not happy.

“Your face also reddens.”

It didn’t happen often, but I still didn’t like when it did.

“Angry cockatiels hiss,” said Momanita. “I don’t think I ever heard you hiss.”

“I’d hiss at a squirrel if it tried to steal my millet.”

“Even a timid garter snake angers,” said Momanita. “If you see one coiled with its head pointing toward you, back away. It might strike.”

“I back away when I see ANY kind of snake even if it’s not coiled.”

I kept a lookout for snakes. I could see them from the top of my writing nest. I also lookout for squirrels.

Elephant Shade

“Humans show they love each other in lots of ways, Squeaks,” said Momanita. “They hold hands, lean toward each other, and smile,” 

I don’t have hands or lips to smile, but I like to be close to you and Mike.”

A mother elephant protects her baby from sun and predators by standing over it.

“Female elephants, called cows, show love for their babies by taking care of them,” said Momanita. “They haul them out of ditches, bathe them by using their trunks to spray water on them, and stand over them to protect them from the sun and predators.”

“I remember when you saved me from that ping pong ball.”

I climbed down from my writing nest and made my way up Momanita’s arm to her shoulder. I pecked at her earring and nuzzled her neck.

It’s not always easy to know how someone feels.

“Thank you for saving me.  Ping pong balls are scary.

“I think we should write about how animals and humans communicate using body language,” said Momanita. “It’s not always easy to know how someone feels.”

“And  after we write, maybe you could build a baffle around my millet.”

I REALLY don’t trust squirrels.

To other hootmans this sounded like squeals and whistles, but not to Momanita. She MOSTLY understood cockatiel speak. I MOSTLY understood hootman talk.

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