Comment on the description of birds at the beginning of "The Birds."

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It is important to note how the author effectively forshadows the later events in the novel even before the birds have started on their murderous campaign against humanity. Note how the third and fourth paragraphs of the story effectively introduce us to the birds and introduce a slightly menacing and foreboding note as to their motivations, capabilities, and actions:

In spring, the birds flew inland, purposeful, intent; they knew where they were bound; the rhythm and ritual of their life brooked no delay. In autumn those that had not migrated overseas but remained to pass the winter were caught up in the same driving urge, but because migration was denied them, followed a pattern of their own. Great flocks of them came to the peninsula, restless, uneasy, spending themselves in motion; no wheeling, circling in the sky, now settling to feed on the rich, new-turned soil; but even when they fed, it was as though they did so without hunger, without desire. Restlessness drove them to the skies again.

Note how the use of words such as "purposeful," "intent," "driving urge," "restless" and "uneasy" present the birds in a threatening light. They are clearly shown to respond to urges and inclinations beyond our ability to understand as humans, but they respond to them with no hesitation or question, following natural impulses resolutely. Phrases such as "brooked no delay" and "the same driving urge" reinforce this. All of these details of course effectively foreshadow how these birds will respond to a sudden change in their relationship with man as they turn against them, indicating how purposefully and intently they will pursue this goal.