In the spring, when birds come back to the island, Tainor and Lurai build a nest in the tree near Karana's house. They have two babies, which Karana trains in the same way she did their Tainor and Lurai. Karana also finds a young gull that as fallen out of its nest and broken its leg. She mends the gull's leg, and as it heals, it starts to hobble around the yard. Karana is happy, but thinks often of Tutok, and wonders what has become of her sister, Ulape. She wonders whether Ulape has a family.
Karana hunts to replenish her food supply. She wants to have plenty of food ready in case the Aleuts come again. One day, while fishing, Karana notices an otter following her. It is Mon-a-nee. Mon-a-nee has two babies, and so Karana renames her Won-a-nee, "Girl with the Large Eyes." She spends many days playing with Won-a-nee and her babies, and after being friends with the otter and all the other animals decides she will never again kill any of them - not otters, not cormorants, not sea elephants, "for animals and birds are like people, too, though they do not talk or do the same things."
The Aleuts never return to the island, but Karana still watches for them. She makes more weapons and stores them around the island, so that she will be ready to move if they return. The otters in Coral Cove now leave in the summer to hide somewhere on the island; they do not return until winter. When, one summer, the otters do not leave, Karana knows all of the otters that remember the Aleut hunters have died. Karana stops marking the passing of time that summer. Up until then, she had cut a mark in her house for every moon that passed since her brother was killed. Later, she had only marked the passing of seasons. This summer she makes no marks at all.
Late in the summer, Rontu dies. He whines to be let out one night, and when he does not come back, Karana goes out to look for him. She finds him in the cave where the wild dogs used to live and carries him toward home. On the way, Karana and Rontu see a flock of gulls. Karana puts Rontu down, but he does not want to chase the birds. Soon afterward, he is dead. Karana buries him on the headland, covering his grave with colored pebbles and a stick he liked to chase.
This section demonstrates the flexibility of the narrative's chronology. It represents many years going by at once, and also indicates changes in Karana. Karana's animal friends all start families; Tainor and Lurai have babies, and does Mon-a-nee (now Won-a-nee). Karana, in turn, begins to wonder what happened to her Ulape. She wonders if Ulape is married and has children, and, as if in the same thought, refers to the animals of the island as her children. That she thinks of them as such is shown not only by the way she is caring for all of them, but also by the names she has given them, especially the bird. She named her birds Tainor and Lurai; one she named after a boy she liked who was killed by the Aleuts, the other she gave the name she always wanted to have. In a sense, then, Karana was creating the family she wanted but that could never exist. Tainor's human namesake is dead, and Karana still has her old name. Thus, Karana was symbolically creating a family for herself in the birds.
Karana's longing for children of her own also marks the passing of time, for when we first met Karana, she was twelve years old. Now, she is old enough to start thinking about having children of her own. This desire is significant because it changes the way in which we think about Karana. Before chapter twenty-four, Karana has not demonstrated any change in maturity. In chapter twenty-four, however, we learn that Karana is old enough to be the "mother of many children," as her sister Ulape may well now be. The realization alters our conception of Karana, and also highlights just how long Karana has been alone on Ghalas-at.