Perhaps autumn is like a warning to all these birds that winter is coming.
It is autumn, and the trees are golden-red, while the hedgerows are still green. The soil is rich were the plow has been, and there are many gulls flying around. Nat believes that there are more birds this year than years in the past, and he notes this from the cliff by the bay. Nat is a solitary person, and works part-time on the farm.
Nat wakes up to the cold, dry east wind blowing down the chimney. He then hears the birds tapping at his window in the early morning. More and more birds show up, and they peck him when he tries to shoo them away, drawing blood. Then he hears his children cry out, and finds many birds in their room and the window open. He shoos the birds out with a blanket, and about fifty dead birds lay about the room.
After ushering Jill into the Triggs' car to get her home safely, the gulls started diving at Nat, some hitting the ground and dying. He drops his hoe, which is useless now. One last gannet takes aim, and his wife opens the door at the last second. He stumbles in, blood on his hands. Johnny and Jill cry at the sight of the blood.
The Army can't even defeat the birds. How will we last like this?
Nat brought down the mattresses last night to be safer from the birds. After forgetting to keep the fire going during the night, birds start coming down the chimney, temporarily abandoning their quest to get in through the boarded up windows. Nat lights the fire, burning out their bodies. Jill and Johnny are very upset.
After Nat figures out that the birds attacks correspond with the tide, he takes his family out of their home to go gather more supplies to outlast the birds next attack. While looking for the Triggs, he sees Jim dead in the cattle yard, and the Triggs dead in the home. While his wife and children wait in the Triggs' car, he gathers all the needed supplies, taking a few trips to get everything home.
Nat realizes that this is his reality now. That he was continue gathering any necessary supplies whenever the tide halts the birds' attacks. He realizes that the sound of the birds clawing their way into his home will be the constant sound that he must endure. He resigns to the fact that this is the only way to survive.