Owl things considered....
For the past several months, I, along with millions of other owlcoholics from around the world have been watching Molly and McGee Owl in San Marcos, California, USA, raise their two wee owlets, who are now getting ready to take wing. Next month, the owlets will become full fledged owls and be on their own, no longer in need of living in the owl nest box rigged with spy cameras by Carlos and Donna Royal so the rest of the world could see this functional family unfold - a second time.
Earlier this year, Molly and McGee had another clutch of four eggs - all of which brought life to four owls who continue to be trained by McGee and Molly has been tending the new clutch. A second clutch within a year is rare - four eggs were laid, all four hatched, but two died within weeks, consumed by Molly to avoid predators smelling their tiny bodies.
So basically we've been watching two owlets lie about, get fed, get bigger, lean on each other, grow very fuzzy feathers, which are now being replaced with beautiful sleek feathers. The screen captures you see below are taken by us, fingers at the ready over our PrtSc buttons (for PC's) when we intuit that the owlets will do something charming, precious, funny or... normal.
The camera peeking inside the owlet's nesting box engages most of the attention, but another camera is stationed outside to catch Molly and McGee bringing in food, passing it off to one another. Or just standing guard over their babies for hours on end.
For everyone who's been watching owls and owlets over the past several months: I believe the reason we love the owls and owlets so much is because they are real. They are honest. The rest of the world is trying to sell us something, persuade us to do something (that is not even necessarily in our own best interest), pushing us to believe something, impress us, or representing themselves as someone they are not ... But our owls are simply who they are, doing what they do, with no hidden agenda.
They love and are loved, they do what they do to survive and be there for one another. That's the glory of nature - and why it's so very important kids get away from video games long enough to understand nature - what's real - is twice as exciting and mesmerizing.
When there was no TV, that's what we used to do - sit on the porch and watch nature. Go to a stream .. and watch nature. Sit by the campfire, and watch nature. Watch something real, that's happening without any expectation of us. That's why I think we shall miss them so much when cameras are taken down.
The owls and owlets have become a cottage industry for Carlos and Donna Royal and their grandson, Austin. Books, songs, a DVD and other Molly, McGee and Owlets merchandise is being sold not just to support their owl watching operation but to put Austin through college.
I know I'm planning on what I shall do with/in nature when the cameras go dark so I don't suffer *too much* from "empty nest syndrome."
Photos by Carlos Royal, screen captures by me and other viewers.