I think the story took place on Mars, and it had a feel like Eric Frank Russell or someone similar. The story starts with the man reporting on his return to base to explain the adventure he just went through. He had met an alien, described as looking something like an ostrich, and the two of them had gone on adventures and seen many other alien life.
Some of the aliens they met:
There was a series of pyramids, starting tiny and getting larger and larger, each one with the tip burst through. At the end of the line was a large creature who sat on the ground and didn't move but occasionally reached into its mouth and pulled out a brick, and it slowly built a pyramid around itself. The protagonist realizes that the creature is a silicon based life form, so its respiratory waste (instead of being carbon dioxide, a gas) is silicon dioxide (a solid).
They also see a series of humanoid creatures busy building and digging and doing some kind of construction, seemingly with some sort of hive mentality, all working around a glowing green object. The man and the ostrich steal the object (which the protagonist shows at the end to prove his story). After they do so, the hive-like aliens come at them, and both the man and the ostrich whip out guns of some sort and defend themselves.
I think they met more aliens but I don't remember any more details about them. The human and the alien initially teach each other a few words in each others languages. The ostrich would then comment on the life forms they met like "one one two yes. two two four no." The protagonist realized that the ostrich would say that to mean sometime like "Yes, it is life, but it is not life like us."
At the end, the colonel or whatever who is interviewing the protagonist says something about the poor man being stuck with an idiotic native. The protagonist disagrees and explains that he had figured out that the ostrich was an explorer like himself, and had never seen any of these creatures before, and yet it was able to swiftly deduce their nature and still communicate that to another alien, that the ostrich was clearly brilliant.