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Timeline: Part 4

Page history last edited by Latrippi 13 years, 6 months ago

Events in the Ongoing Story of Molly, McGee, & the Owlets

Note: This Timeline is in reverse chronological order, with most recent events at the top.


< [ Next: Timeline main ] 

First Flights

May 16 - 24


May 24/25. Mon night.

Hunting Stats: Total treats: 12. 9:39p Molly, mouse; 9:53p McGee, rodent; 10:20p Molly, mouse; 11:07p McGee, rat; 11:54p Molly, mouse; 11:54p McGee, rat; 12:05a Molly, rat; 1:03a McGee, mouse; 2:03a Molly, rat; 2:36a Molly, rat; 2:50a McGee, live mouse; 4:12a Owlet Whooo, rat (probably handoff from parent).

Branching Stats: First out at 8:21p. Second out at 8:21p. Third out at 8:25. Wesley out on the perch 5:11-5:16a. Last owlet back in at 5:16 (Wesley).


  • Merritt's summary: At 5:11am PDT, with one owlet in the box and 3 out, the owlet in the box tentatively stepped out and sat on the perch attached to the house. He stretched his wings and teetered on the perch as if unsure of his grip. While on the perch, the three that were out slipped back into the box behind him, and at 5:16 the one on the perch stepped back in, too. Moments later, the "blue box" confirmed it was Wesley who had stepped out for his very first time. Go Wesley! 
  • CarlosRoyal's videos:
  • SirCarlosR, Wesley Steps Out! 


May 23/24. Sun night.  

Hunting Stats: Total treats: 10. 9:12p Molly, mouse; 9:29p Molly, mouse; 9:30p MAX! gopher (probably a handoff from a parent); 9:57p McGee, rabbit; 11:19p McGee, rodent; 1:14a Molly, gopher; 1:43a Molly, mouse; 2:09a Molly, mouse; 2:39a Molly, mouse; 3:26a Molly, live mouse.

Branching Stats: First out 8:20p. Second out 8:21p. Third out 8:25p. All back in by 5:10a. Wesley still enjoying flying as a strictly spectator sport.

  • Today, Max is 63 days old, Pattison 61, Austin 59, and Wesley 56. 
  • In his morning broadcast, Carlos described a private moment he'd had with one of owlets, who was on the neighbor's roof and then flew down to the fence, just a few feet from Carlos, who was outside watching. Carlos didn't want to risk scaring the owlet away by moving to focus the camera, so he just sat there and watched. Chat streamers observed: "It doesn't seem to have occurred to him that the owlet was honoring him specially and privately."
  • To be continued ...



May 22/23. Sat night.  

Hunting Stats: Total treats: 10. 8:58p McGee, gopher; 10:17p Whoo? rodent; 11:01p McGee, rat; 12:11a Molly, rodent; 12:51a Molly, rat; 1:02a McGee, mouse; 1:11a McGee, live mouse; 1:44a McGee, rodent; 3:44a Molly, rodent; 4:05a McGee, rat. 

Branching Stats: First out 8:18p. Second out 8:19p. Third out 8:22p. All back in by 5:13a. Wesley still enjoying dining alone.

  • Carlos & Donna were away in SF all day, leaving viewers with just one external camera. MODs watched the wind blowing on the outside of the Owl Box while inside, the owlets slept, and Merritt introduced a new activity: MOD Acrostics
  • Returning in the early evening, Carlos rebooted the crashed computer, restoring the internal camera, and described the highlights of his 'by invitation' visit to the new UStream offices in San Francisco, where (he reported) a conference room has been named The Owl Box in Molly and Carlos' honor!
  • Max and Pattison stepped out of the box as dusk darkened into night, and soon thereafter Austin launched himself out, too, in his characteristic style. The 3 frolicked within camera range for a few hours before disappearing off into the night and reappearing again, at irregular intervals.
  • Wesley stayed inside all night but could be seen flapping his wings from time to time and hopping around in preparation for making his exit soon. He approached the door, repeatedly, leanded out -- then pulled back and shook it off, and could be heard pacing and muttering to himself. Well, maybe.  It was also presumed that he was again perusing the Ikea catalogue.
  • Witnessing a number of food deliveries handed off to owlets outside the box, we realized the food count might have been low in the past week because some food deliveries were happening off camera! 
  • Around midnight and 1 AM, Austin came and went from the Owl Box a few times just as M&M made a string of deliveries and, twice, raced the arriving parent to the box! Once, he jostled Molly to the side on his way in, but she recovered and dropped off a treat.  
  • A second time, Austin and Wes had been in the box together when Austin made an awkward exit by way of the perch -- his first use of the perch on exiting! He faked a few people out thinking it was Wes, but Wes was still inside. Then Molly arrived with a (live) Rat, later demoted to just Rat, and Austin high tailed it back into the box and this time beating her inside, but just barely. Somebody got the rat and there was a HUGE kerfuffle the likes of which we hadn't heard in a long while. The very next delivery was certified live, owing to the audible squeaking.
  • As of sunrise, Wesley had not ventured out of the box.
  • Semi-random observation snagged from the chat stream: Merritt: "In the wee hours of the morning last night, I saw two owlets sitting outside in front of the owl box, one on the box perch and the other on the fledge ledge. The wind was blowing pretty hard yesterday and evidently kept up during the night, because I could see the fluff on the owlet on the fledge ledge being ruffled by the breeze. It was an awesome sight to see." 
  • Carlos' Photos:


May 21/22. Fri night.  

Hunting Stats: Total treats: 11. 9:25p McGee, rodent; 10:24p McGee, rodent; 10:45p McGee, rodent; 11:09p Molly, gopher; 12:23a McGee, mouse; 12:32a Molly, gopher; 2:16a McGee, rat; 2:48a McGee, rat; 2:49a Molly, rabbit; 4:56a McGee, mouse; 5:09a Molly, rat.

Branching Stats: First out at 8:18p. Second out at 8:19p. Austin out at 8:27p (identified by the “do not pass Go” launching style). All three returned by sunrise. Wesley still standing on the door sill, looking around.

  • Carlos and Donna are taking a couple days off, visiting the SF Bay area, so MODs were left with one external camera for night and day.
  • At 8:18, as it was growing dark, and the Owl Box was beginning to glow, Max came to the door, leaned out and stepped out, immediately followed by Pattison! Austin, after a brief interval of ledging, took a flying leap down to the platform, following his signature "what perch?" MO.
  • The three of them then spent a couple hours cavorting in the Royal Owl Amusement Park, leaping and flying from perch, to fledge ledge, to platform, to the roof, and back around again, practicing pouncing, stretching their wings, and skipping on the roof. 
  • Wesley remained alone inside, approaching the door a few times, but apparently enjoying being the only one 'at home' much of the evening to receive food deliveries!
  • Austin returned to the Owl Box just in time for the 1st delivery and left again a few minutes before the 3rd. During one of these deliveries, Max and Pattison swarmed McGee when he arrived to make the drop off, and one tumbled off the perch toward the ground, out of camera range, a feathery blur. Eventually, he reappeared unscathed, to everyone's relief.
  • The 4th delivery of the night, made by Molly, went to an owlet on the fledge ledge, possibly Austin, who took the treat down to the launch pad platform, out of camera range, to devour it as two other owlets on the perch and the balcony watched. Your editor then learned this was not the first delivery made outside!
  • The night was cloudy and windy, and thunder sounded as the Owl Box rocked. A partial moon floated into and out of view, swathed in a greenish fog.
  • Video:


May 20/21. Thu night.  

Hunting Stats:Total treats: 6. 9:12p McGee, rodent; 10:16p Molly, rabbit; 11:30p Molly, rodent, possibly live; 12:11a McGee, rodent; 2:01a McGee, rat; 4:32a McGee, rodent.

Branching Stats: Max and Patti out at 8:17p. Max in at 4:32a, Patti in at 5:11a. Austin out 8:55-10:07p; flew immediately from the door to the landing pad. Wesley still inside getting first dibs on the food deliveries.

  • Tonight, Max and Pattison left the Owl Box together and were hanging around outside - on the ladder, on the roof - when:
  • At 8:55pm PDT, Austin, the third owlet to hatch, surpassed his 2 older siblings who had tentatively stepped out of the owl box for the first time a few days ago. Austin did no stepping out. With one mighty LEAP, Austin catapulted out of the owl box as though shot from a canon and landed on the platform several feet away!
  • Max and Pat flew much more gracefully around last night and continued to hop and pounce upon the owl box roof top But Austin's acrobatic act stole the show.  
  • CarlosRoyal's video:
    • Austins First Flight
      Scroll the video forward to 46:00 (46 minutes) for the beginning of Austin's awesome exit.
  • Carlos' Photos:


May 19/20. Wed night.  

Hunting Stats: Total treats: 8. 8:40p McGee, rat; 9:02p McGee, rodent; 10:45p Molly, Mouse; 11:26p McGee, gopher; 1:47a McGee, rodent; 2:34a McGee, mouse; 2:57a Molly, rat; 3:46a McGee, rodent.

Branching Stats: One owlet out 8:19p-1:49a and another owlet out 8:21p-2:59a.

  • Max and Pattison are getting their flight on! It takes a lot of practice for a barn owl to learn how to maneuver and manipulate a 42 inch wing span on those relatively little bodies.
  • On Wed night, Max's flights were full of power as he would launch himself into the air and soar with a minimum of flapping.
  • Pattison is still in the choppy awkward phase, but both were all over the place last night. One even took a tumble to the ground trying to climb up the backside of the perch, but reemerged on the scene from the right side of the viewing screen where he might have climbed up on the fence and launched himself to the top of the box from there.
  • Gasps and sighs of wonder and relief could be heard around the world all night long. 


May 18/19. Tues night.

Hunting Stats: Treats: 8. 9:55p Molly, rodent; 10:09p Molly, rat; 11:33p McGee, mouse; 11:57p McGee, gopher; 12:27a McGee, rodent; 1:01a McGee, mouse; 1:56a McGee, rodent; 2:35a McGee, rat.

Branching stats: Patti out 8:17-9:24p; 12:41-5:11a; first flight 1:18a. Max out 10:30-11:34p; 2:00-5:06a; first flight on camera 4:56a. Austin: One foot on porch 2:27a. Wesley: Thinkin’ ’bout it.

  • Molly landed on the roof as dusk gathered, and remained for a full minute, peering around as if looking for, and warning away, possible predators (wild editorial theorizing).
  • Minutes later, an owlet exited the Box and went exploring again, from the perch up to the roof and down again, then over to the fledge ledge, and then -- he flapped his wings and FLEW from the fledge ledge to the platform! A minute or two later, he flew again, this time from the platform to the roof!
  • Chatters in the moderated chat room claim it was Pattison on the roof and flying, citing white marks on the wings. Some MODs in SPO remain(ed) unconvinced. "In that case," one wondered aloud, "where is Max in all this?"
  • Again at 10:30, an owlet (Max? Pattison?) visited the roof!
  • But wait, there's more! Eventually, there was a real flight "off into the wild" -- whatever that means! Your editor was not around to see it. I know, let's watch the video (below) and find out!
  • Merritt's summary: Owlets continued to explore the world outside of the box last night, and one or more could be seen doing a happy dance up on the roof. Brief flights from landing spot to landing spot grew more graceful with each attempt. After enjoying life outdoors, all returned safely to the box, where they will sleep, eat, preen and play through another day.   
  • CarlosRoyal's videos: First FLIGHT:
  • Carlos Royals photos:


Note: First outside delivery: via James Hill: On the first or second night that Max ventured outside, he was sitting on the perch attached to the owl box and one of the adults flew in with a treat.  They landed on the T-bar perch and handed off the prey to him.  He sat there for a few minutes with the mouse/gopher(?) dangling from his beak before turning around and going inside to consume the critter. In the chat stream, MODs applauded Max's ability to "not drop it" before he went inside. Kathryn R or Dorothy grabbed a picture (check for timestamp!)


May 17/18. Mon night.

Hunting Stats: Treats: 9. 8:47p Molly, gopher; 10:19p McGee, mouse; 10:25p Molly, mouse; 10:37p Molly, rodent; 11:55p McGee, mouse; 12:56a McGee, mouse; 2:20a McGee, big rodent; 2:49a McGee, rat; 3:47a McGee, huge rat.

Branching Stats: Owlet (Max? Patti?) on perch 8:16-8:35p; 8:50-9:13p; 9:49-10:15p; 1:01-1:32a; ON ROOF 1:32-3:03a.

  • During the day, the owlets were relatively quiet and a squall of smurfs blew through the chat stream. The Hunting Fishing authorities were alerted and the situation was resolved.
  • Molly arrived early and looked in on the owlets from the perch, then flew away again, without delivering food. Soon after, she stationed herself nearby, as an unfamiliar clicking-cooing noise could be heard emanating just out of camera range.  Carlos confirmed that Molly was on a nearby tree calling to the owlets.
  • Soon after, Max came out onto the perch. Pattison peered out as if looking for a place to stand. At one point, Max stepped to the porch, lost his footing, and slid to the far right edge of the porch, flapping and lurching as if he might slide off! But he regained his balance and eventually re-entered the box. The two owlets took turns stepping out and went exploring, sitting on the perch, the porch, the fledging ledge -- and then, 
  • At 1:30 AM, one of the owlets made it up to the ROOF! He stayed for an hour and a half before clambering down.
  • "Some viewers thought Max (or Pattison, the owlet on the roof) was relaxed at times, seemingly falling asleep while on the roof top. Others thought he was up there so long because he didn't know how to get back down. He was having so much fun up there stomping around, jumping, and flapping those pretty wings. The siblings were interesting to watch during the whole fiasco too. He finally came down, fairly quickly, after what I believe was a 2nd feeding that he missed while on his roof."
  • Positive identity could not be made in all cases, but no sign yet of Austin stepping out.     
  •  Food deliveries returned to their more or less regular pace, disproving (or at least undermining) the theory that M&M had been "witholding" food the night before to lure the owlets to hunt. 
  •   Vidoes: First time ON ROOF 5-18-10 at 1:32 AM for 1 hr 31 mins (!)


May 16/17. Sun night, wet and foggy.

Hunting Stats: Treats: 2. 9:15p Molly, rodent; 10:27p wet Molly, rat, possibly live.

Branching Stats: Owlets (Max? Patti?) on perch: 8:10p-8:39p; 8:43p-1:58p; 10:03p-10:29p; 11:56p-12:06a; 3:02a-3:08a.

  • An exuberant and, at times, overheated day was spent by all in the SPO chat room catching up on the night's events.
  • In the early evening, Carlos declared his intention to stay up as late as required to see an owlet step out of the box ... and soon thereafter regaled Molly watchers with a tour of owl paraphrenalia received from grateful viewers.
  • No sooner had Carlos begun to sip his extra strength Dutch coffee, settling down for a long evening watch, than Max caught everyone off guard by venturing out onto the perch! His step from doorway to porch was relatively swift and sure, bringing everyone within earshot running.
  • Max remained on the perch from 8:10 - 8:39, peering around as if (perhaps?) scoping out where to step to next, while another owlet (Pattison) peered out from the door at him, craning his neck.
  • At about 8:15 PM, the legs and breast of an adult owl could be seen in the upper right of the video, perched on the edge of the Owl Box roof! "Most likely Molly," was the general consensus. Eventually, Max returned to the Box without incident.
  •   At 8:43, an owlet again stepped out to the perch! Max again?! Pattison?!? We couldn't be sure. But the weight of opinion tilted toward Pattison, with some citing markings and fuzz (this one seemed plumper), others behavior (seemed more awkward, less sure). The 'official' banner initially registered Pattison, then shifted to a generic "owlet on perch." Carlos was shooting pics so eventualy, all will be revealed. Assuming Carlos can tell the difference, that is!
  • No sooner was the SPO chat stream quieting down, and folks on the east Coast signing off, than an third owlet outing began! This was ran from 10:03 - 10:29 and the general consensus was that it was Pattison out for a second walk about. to some, he seemed to get a bit stuck. Or at least, stranded. In any case, he took his time returning, and took a perhaps inadvertent detour to the end of the porch, after slipping on the porch dowels. As a chat stream watched put it (Susan Lawyer): he lost his balance, over-corrected, and "had to flap, flap, flap till he could right himself and then quickly went back into the box and hasn't stepped out since!"
  • Molly slipped in with a single food delivery a little before 10 PM -- first isted as "rodent" then upgraded to "capybara"

    -- then to Laotian rock rat, meerkat, and sloth. Two rather grown up looking owlets have been standing guard, shoulder to shoulder in the doorway, awaiting FOOD.

  • 11:56 - 12:26, 3:02-08: Two more trips outside by one or the other of the older owlets!
  • A light night for food deliveries! The second delivery came at 4:46 AM, from a wet Molly. McGee was not seen. Chat room moderators noted in the banner that the night had been wet and foggy, although according to the weather report, it had not actually rained.
  • Photos by Carlos:


Photo (above): Max Flies the Coop (5/16/2010) by James Hill (click for full size version).


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