In The Birds, on December 3, two apparently minor incidents occur—one involving the farmer and the other involving Nat. What are these incidents and how do they foreshadow what the story's conflict will be?

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The incidents that occur on December 3rd are both changes in the birds's regular behavior and the number of them. Nat and the farmer both notice the changes and remark on them without much fanfare or alarm. Daphne Du Maurier explains that the winds changed and winter came the same...

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The incidents that occur on December 3rd are both changes in the birds's regular behavior and the number of them. Nat and the farmer both notice the changes and remark on them without much fanfare or alarm. Daphne Du Maurier explains that the winds changed and winter came the same day. Nat says that the birds were quick and restless all fall.

Mr. Trigg, the farmer, was swarmed by birds as he drove his tractor up and down the western hills. Nat is watching as it happens and loses sight of both man and machine as the birds engulf them. However, he goes away from the birds and continues his day. That afternoon, when Mr. Trigg and Nat discuss what happened, the farmer simply says there are more birds than usual and that they're restless because winter will be hard.

That night, a bird comes to his house and taps on his windowpane. When he checks to see what has happened, the bird flies away and is gone. Next time he goes back to the window, birds attack him and his family. This horror is foreshadowed by the unusual and aggressive behavior of the birds—creatures that usually don't seek out humans or act aggressively toward them. The next day, the entire world begins to be assaulted by the birds.

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The story opens on December 3 with two seemingly minor incidents: Nat observes a change in the behavior of the local birds. He finds them restless and agitated, completely lacking in any intent. Furthermore, the birds do not seem to feel hunger nor any desire when they feed.

Similarly, the farmer, Mr. Trigg, has also noticed some changes, as he explains to Nat:

There are more birds about than usual…And daring, some of them, taking no notice of the tractor.

The men believe that the weather has brought about these changes, that the sudden shift from autumn to winter has caused them to act unusually, as Mr. Trigg confirms:

It will be a hard winter. That's why the birds are restless.

By referring to these events as she sets the story's scene, Du Maurier creates an interest in the behaviour of the birds while also foreshadowing what will happen. To reinforce this sense of interest, Du Maurier makes these events seem minor and irrelevant which, in fact, has the reverse effect.

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