You can tell how a crested bird is feeling by watching its feathers.
Uh-oh. Your anthropomorphize-ometer is spinning, isn’t it? Feelings are an ornithological no-no.
But I’ll argue that it doesn’t take much bird watching to notice the agitated crest feathers of a frightened bird. Or the smooth, motionless crest on a calmer bird’s head. If you’re lucky enough to catch their springtime flirting, you may notice that crested birds’ top feathers wag and wiggle in courtship. When they have a family, their nestlings’ crests show visible excitement when mom and dad approach with a meal.
Are the crest feathers expressing feelings? Maybe not, but those top feathers sure seem to convey a crested bird’s state of mind.
I’ve seen plenty of examples outside my window.