What happens to the planes when they try to act against the birds?
As Nat and his family are cleaning up after a supper of "toasted cheese," which Nat suggested as a means of distracting and comforting his daughter, they hear the sound of airplanes flying nearby. His wife is delighted with the prospect of salvation from the birds being delivered via gunfire:
His wife looked up at him, her face alight. "It's planes," she said; "they're sending out planes after the birds. That's what I said they ought to do all along. That will get them. Isn't that gunfire? Can't you hear guns?"
However, Nat knows that airplanes will not be able to be truly effective, since they cannot bomb areas where the population is being threatened, due to the certainty of loss of human of life. He is also aware of the true cause of the crashing noises that are heard; they are not the sounds of bombing, but the sounds of airplanes crashing. The planes are being brought down by the birds, who are allowing themselves to be pulled into the propellers and fuselages of the aircraft.