"As a writer, I don't want to chew my cud. I don't want to have to spit out and regurgitate the same stuff again."
In the story, the tracer-birds are used to spy upon the novel's main character. It is noteworthy that Zelazny hit upon a useable way for UAVs (Unmanned aerial vehicles) to do solar charging automatically.
The earliest reference that I know of for a robot that can charge itself is from the 1960 short story Callahan and the Wheelies by Stephen Barr. See the article for the self-charging robot.
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'The ten forked ends of each arm commenced a rattling pressing of the buttons.'
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