Ever since I read about Molly the barn owl on Penguin and Fish's blog, I've been a regular viewer...I've heard the word addicted come up...I try to keep a handle on it :-)...but I'm amazed myself at how important it's become for me to at least check in on the progress of this barn owl family.
The best part of it all has been the community that is growing up around this live streaming webcast of the inside of an owl box. The other best part are the people who started it all, Donna and Carlos Royal of San Marcos, CA.
The little dramas that occur in the course of watching are like a slice of life...people coming into the chat sounding irritated, being put back on course by the others in the chat and leaving with a new attitude and lots of well wishes from others on the chat...Carlos himself playing games with the webcast...dangling owl and mouse toys in front of the screen late last night while waiting for McGee to show up with food for the babies and Molly...(the outside camera is being fed into Ustream through a camera aimed at a laptop in Carlos' kitchen, so he can do things like this without affecting the owls)...
The main thing, actually, is that Donna wanted an owl box on their property two years ago, Carlos eventually agreed and an owl box was built and set up...and they waited. This year, two barn owls moved in, Carlos attached a camera (he had practiced this beforehand, so he could do it quickly while Molly was out) so his family and friends could see it over the internet...and now the whole world is tuning in to see the four owlets and Molly, with nightly visits from McGee, along with Q&A sessions by Carlos with school children during the day!
Here's a short and sweet interview with Carlos on Good Day Sacramento (uploaded by a Molly fan here)...
There are two sites to watch the live stream from...each has it's own 'flavor'...
Live Owl Nest Box Cam (two separate videos, sometimes one has the view outside the box, larger view of the main video, links to more info and more webcams, and a live comment stream below)
The Owl Box, Ustream.TV (smaller view, live chat and social media stream on the side, Carlos will sometimes join in the chat on this page, also, previous videos and snippets from the owl box)
Carlos' YouTube channel
stuff you can buy to support this project
Molly's box-the blog
Molly's Facebook fan page
Beware, if you watch for any length of time, you may not want to stop!
Oh, and beware #2...if you don't like seeing the occasional feeding frenzy or headless rabbit, than you may not want to watch, at least not during prime feeding time for owls late at night...though it is nature, and it does become easier to watch when you realize that this is the way baby owls get to be big and strong, this is the cycle of life that happens all around us all the time.