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"In science fiction one can say a great many things that are unpalatable, because it's expressed as science fiction you can slip it past their defenses."
- Frederik Pohl

Bird-Like Robots  
  Robotic birds used in a stage play.  

Early reference to a robot bird; see the other science fiction references below for modern-day robotic birds.

SCENE Two then burst upon us, and again, the exotic Mile. Flamingo robot circled around the stage, gracefully as a human being, performing contortions hitherto unknown, and unattempted.

Bird-like robots now descended from the ceiling of the theatre, and where they came from I never can determine. They circled the vast audiences, dancing, twittering, chirping, and from miniature photophonic cells echoed their music, until the vast theatrical coliseum was aflood with melody. I cannot, of course, attempt to describe the entire three-hour performance.

Technovelgy from Flamingo: A Drama of A.D. 1950, by Clarence Edward Heller.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1930
Additional resources -

Consider, however, the Hans Christian Andersen tale The Nightingale (1843). A real nightingale charms a Chinese emperor and his peasants alike. Its song brings tears to their eyes. Subsequently, an artificial nightingale appears, even handsomer than the real one because it is ornamented with precious stones. It appears to sing as well and more repeatedly, and is as well received as the original. Banished, the real bird flies away. After a year, however, the artificial nightingale begins to break down, and cannot be fully repaired. A few years later, the emperor lays dying, and only the nightingale's song can save him. But the artificial bird has now completely wound down. Suddenly, the live nightingale appears, sings to the emperor, and he comes back to life.

Compare to the artificial bird from The Artificial Bird (1929) by Karel Capek, the robot bird from Invader on My Back, by Philip E. High, published by Ace Books in 1968, the tracer birds from Roger Zelazny's Changeling (1980) and little bird from Darwin's Children (2003) by Greg Bear.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Flamingo: A Drama of A.D. 1950
  More Ideas and Technology by Clarence Edward Heller
  Tech news articles related to Flamingo: A Drama of A.D. 1950
  Tech news articles related to works by Clarence Edward Heller

Bird-Like Robots-related news articles:
  - Festo BionicSwift Bird Robots Described In 1930
  - Amazing Indoor Robotic Drones Mimic Dolphins and Whales

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