Can anyone name this short story? I read it in an anthology before 1997.
A human explorer had a pet talking bird, partly for company and partly because it was good at telling which alien fruits were safe to eat. He was lost far from Earth and was nearly out of fuel. Fuel consisted of a fissionable wire stored on a drum.
He landed on a planet with a huge variety of plants. There seemed to be only one example of each species.
He saw something glowing at night. Following it, he found an alien building containing files of notes, written as patterns of dots melted into something like glass. The glowing thing was an alien scientist, and the life on the planet was its collection of specimens. He considered the alien to be more God-like than humans. He never made direct contact with it.
In or near the building he found some drums of heavy wire, one of which turned out to be suitable for powering his ship. He set a long, spiralling course and eventually found a beacon to guide him home. The narrator suggested that the alien "may have" included a description of the man and bird in its notes, having been aware of them all along, and may have described both as "fairly successful."