[N]ot even this was considered advisable now, since that day not long ago when one duck had veered off, in a completely unnatural way, from the flock that was so charmingly patterning the dark water; it swam toward the shore, and out of the bushes rushed Hendler, the young security guard, shouting "Take cover! Down!" and thrusting Kit and himself down onto the grass, flinging himself beside them, while the duck, which later turned out to be made of wood, ended its unnatural course at a projecting piece of turf and began to spin even more unnaturally. Handler had taken it for a floating bomb, camouflaged as a duck or hidden inside the duck. Fortunately he was mistaken...Ever since then he had been suspicious of the ducks, he even began to distrust the birds he had so long enjoyed observing. Presumably it was possible to develop remote-control mechanical birds which, filled with high explosives, would suddenly switch to horizontal flight and fly through an open window bearing havoc in their artificial breasts, in their artificial bellies..."Even the birds of the air aren't to be trusted anymore."...Come to think of it, mechanical birds were nothing new, and he recalled a conversation with Veronica on the terrace in Eickelhof, when Veronica had maintained that artificial birds flew "more naturally" than real ones, just as wound-up toy birds "walk more naturally than real ones..."
The Safety Net