Karana discovers two birds and their babies and sets about domesticating them. She puts them in a cage and keeps them as companions, and when they get too big for the cage, she clips their wings so they will stay nearby and not fly away.
The birds become tame and comfortable with her, eventually eating food out of her hand. She gives the birds meaningful names: Lurai, a name she'd envied, and Tainor, after one of the people killed when the Aleutians invaded.
The birds become important companions for Karana, who has been living with the harsh loss of the people around her. Though she is not able to recreate the community she lost, connecting with the birds, including giving them significant names, is a way to experience companionship once more.