Student Question

Why did the birds attack Phillip in chapter 16 of The Cay?

Expert Answers

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About a week after the hurricane which killed Timothy, Phillip noticed that an abundance of birds had returned to the south beach of the island. Suddenly, they began to swoop and swarm around him. Then he felt "a beat of a wing past my face." Angry cries came from the birds, and Phillip lashed out with his cane. Then, "one pecked my forehead sharply," drawing blood. Phillip fell in the sand, and the birds continued their attack. A "snarling" Stew Cat came to his assistance, "leaping into the air." Phillip listened as the cat fought with a bird in the sand. Finally, the attacks subsided. Phillip wondered what had caused the birds to act so strangely, and then he realized that

... I'd accidentally walked into their new nesting ground.
    They were fighting for survival, after the storm, just as I was.  

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