Survival of the Fittest

March 18, 2011

Four Healthy Owlets

Western Kingbird

The two little owlets have died. These two were much, much smaller than the other owlets and came from eggs that were about a third smaller than the other five eggs. So here is an update. Molly laid seven eggs, five large and two small. Four of the large eggs hatched while one just disappeared. We assume Molly ate it but since we did not see the event we are not sure. We just know the egg disappeared. To our surprise the two small eggs hatched but the little owlets didn’t seem to grow or develop as they should have and we had concerns they would survive but after several days of them holding their own I reported, “We appear to have six healthy owlets but two very small ones.”

Again, I noted their small size and their non-development compared to the other four owlets. What is interesting is they seemed to be getting plenty of food, Molly was feeding them and they were bouncing around but they were just not developing for their age. For example, the two little owlets did not develop their little downy feathers like they should have to keep themselves warm and after almost two weeks they were still almost naked. We think this lack of warmth may have been the contributing factor in their deaths. They were alive when we went to bed and they were deceased when we got up the next morning.

The good news is Molly still has 4 healthy owlets, which is very normal for a barn owl hatch of six eggs. In most owl broods not all the eggs hatch and not all the little owlets make it to fledge. That is nature and survival of the fittest.


One of Austin’s customers got a surprise when she opened her order for a pair of sun glasses. She got the pair I wore on the Molly Special.

“Hey guys,
I got my sunglasses yesterday and just laughed out loud when I read the post it note in the box saying that these were the same glasses Carlos wore on the March 7th hour long broadcast. I was watching the show and when he put on those glasses I said out loud to myself, “Those are the same as the ones I ordered.” Ha! Little did I know that those were the ones I was going to get. Fun!

Thanks guys and good luck on your business. I LOVE my sunglasses – they are the “coolest.”

Martha (calliopekid)”

Austin has also posted a video of him and his friend painting his company logo on the wall of his bedroom. Check it out and join the experiment and have some fun. Your photo can be posted with the “Cool People.” All you have to do is to send Austin a photo of you wearing his “Cool Sunglasses” and he will post your picture for the world to see just how cool you can be.

We completed the final walk though of our motor home today. We will be taking a short trip this weekend and if all goes well, we should be on the road before the first. All we are waiting on now is the Canadian weather to get a little better. We have already received word that the cherry blossoms are blooming. And yes, I plan to post photos of our trip.

All the best,

Carlos, Donna and Austin

59 Responses to “Survival of the Fittest”

  1. Liz Says:

    Thanks for the updates Carlos! I hope you and Donna have a wonderful trip. Looking forward to your pictures!

    North Carolina

  2. Tresbien Says:

    Hi Carlos, Donna & Austin,

    It’s sad to learn that two of the owlets failed to thrive. Thank you for alerting us to the fact that they were smaller than the others. As we watch other boxes this season, we’re seeing that it is common for not all of the eggs to hatch or the owlets to survive to fledge.

    Hope your weekend jaunt will be fun and pass all of your tests. Can’t wait to see your photos!


    PS The cherry blossoms in DC are scheduled to be at peak bloom between March 29 and April 3rd, right on schedule! Hope you get to see many on your trip.

  3. Linda D. Greene Says:

    Dear Carlos, Sorry for Molly’s loss, but nature knows best. Cool Austin!! Have a safe trip Donna and Carlos. Callie, congrats on the glasses.

  4. Lisa A. Burns Says:

    So sad about the 2 tiny owlets. : (
    Thank you for sharing Carlos. So love the photo
    of the 4 owlets.

    Way to go Austin!!

  5. GeniaKnitz Says:

    Thank you for letting us know about Molly and McGee’s loss, Carlos. It is sad news, but we have learned these things happen.

    We now have several boxes to watch, with beautiful barn owl pairs and dear owlets, but Molly and McGee will always be very special to me. Thank you so much for sharing the tale of their progress.

    Have a great trip. And the photo of the kingbird is beautiful!

  6. Rita in DC Says:

    Carlos— Typo time:

    In the kingbird caption, Westren –> Western

    Thank you so much, once again, for the photos and the report!

    –Rita in DC, AKA bluenoter in Chat

    • Rita in DC Says:

      Thanks for fixing it, Carlos! I can’t edit out my correction, but you certainly may if you wish to.

  7. janie2 Says:

    Carlos, thank you for warning us ahead of time about how tiny the eggs and owlets were. It doesn’t make it any less sad, but does explain things. Thank you for the picture of the 4 healthy ones. We appreciate any news from Molly, McGee and their clutch.

  8. Sherry Kelly Says:

    Saddened to hear about the deaths of the two little owlets, but death is also a part of life – and you had warned us that they were fragile. Hopefully, the remaining four will flourish and do well. Your posts, Carlos, no matter what they are about bring a little sunshine into our individual homes.

    The sunglasses pictures are such a fun idea! Who came up with it. And sending that special pair to Martha was great! She must have been overjoyed!

    From Oklahoma, wishing you and Donna wonderful travels!

    • carlosroyal Says:

      It was Austin’s and he is the one that put the post-it note in the shipping box. He didn’t showed it to me until after he had put the note in the box and was ready to ship the order. At that point he showed me the box with the note and the sunglasses and asked, “What do you think?” I was impressed.

  9. Monica Says:

    Thank you Carlos for the update on our little owlets of Molly and McGee.. So sad to hear 2 little Molly owlets didn’t make it, but YES, it nature and are now in owly heaven. Love the picture of the four healthy babies.
    Have a wonderful trip, can’t wait to see your pictures while your travel.. Be safe, and enjoy every moment. Hugz from Illinois

  10. Lee McGrew Says:

    Thanks Carlos for the update and Austin’s videos are AWESOME! … a GREAT kid!

  11. Joyce Hebert Says:

    sorry about the little ones, but sure for the best…owletts look just as curious as the first…hope shake down trip finds no bugs for you to fix before you leave…have fun…thanks for the update…

  12. Kit Says:

    awww…I’m sorry about the little ones. The remaining 4 look very stout. Thanks for the pictures and update.

  13. Caboval Says:

    Hi Carlos! Thank you for the update on the owlets. Im sorry about the two that didnt make it. They have made it to be with Jody at “The Rainbow bridge”
    Well sounds like youre gearing up for a wonderful trip and I cant wait to see the cherry blossoms!!!!
    Have a great day!!! (Hearts) Caboval

  14. Kit Says:

    btw, cool video!

  15. PegRod Says:

    Carlos, we really appreciate that you are honest, forthright and level-headed when you share the news updates on Molly & McGee’s third clutch. The photo of the new healthy “Famous Four” unnamed owlets is fitting to be in the same blog along with the “Series of Four” news! We have always said that Austin is Awesome ((Huggz)) and we are eternally grateful that he shares his talents and love.

    Do you know if there will be any mention in the San Marcos, CA news about the Official Molly & McGee Day on March 25th? Or was this a single-year recognition event?

    Love the lessons on life you give us, along with the beautiful and educational photos – the Western Kingbird is so colorful! I listened to the bird call on – maybe we have some here! An attempt to put the call into English reads:
    “ker-er-ip, ker-er-ip, pree pree prpreee”, “kit”
    I heard about a new book “Aaaaw to Zzzzzd: The Words of Birds. North America, Britain, and Northern Europe” – putting human voice to the bird calls.

    OF course, there will never be anything closer to MODs hearts as the wonderful “Deet, deet, deet” of the Royal Owls and Carlos!

    • CAequuslvr Says:

      Thanks for mentioning the bird call book. I have read the review and will be making a “suggestion for purchase” to my library.

      I, too, was wondering about Molly & McGee Day. I hope it was not just for last year, because the legacy of M&M still continues.

      You are so right when you say that “Deet, deet, deet” will always be our favorite bird call. chuckle

  16. Karen Levinson Says:

    There’s just something about Molly’s babies. I am drawn to Oliver and Olivia and wonder which of Molly’s owlets I am watching. Thank you for the update and the perfect picture.

    • joly2u Says:

      Karen, if the Max clutch was Molly’s first, as we think, Owlivia & Owliver could not be hers, as they were parenting at the same time. Also they have darker face bands, don’t they? But take a look at Lucy. She’s the spitting image of Molly, and her owlets look like Molly’s. Poway is only 27 mi from San Marcos, and barn owls travel up to 1200 mi to find nests. It makes me happy to think I might be seeing one of Molly’s offspring.

  17. Donna Koski Says:

    Oh so sorry the little ones died. But the others are so cute. Thanks for the update.

    Don’t get wet on your weekend trip since it is supposed to rain here. Take care and have fun.

    I am glad Austin is getting so creative

    donna Bingodabber)

  18. Holly Sue Says:

    Dear Carlos,
    Thank you for the update on your owlets! I am saddened that the two little ones didn’t make it but from your description it was obvious
    that their lack of development would prevent healthy growth to fledging. The remaining four look robust! It was so nice of Austin to send the note with the sunglasses – that personal touch! His site is great, very attractive, and I enjoyed the biking footage. You have to be young to try those stunts – and talented! Enjoy your weekend “maiden voyage” with the RV. I am looking forward to your updates and photos when you and Donna leave for your adventures “Up North”.
    Love to all of you, Holly Sue

  19. Marie Says:

    Hopefully the little ones had a very peaceful passing and making new feathers for angel’s wings in heaven.

  20. Nancy Says:

    Aaaaawwwww, they are so cute! We miss them (and you) so much. Thanks for the update! Have a safe and fun-filled trip.

  21. Anne Martin Says:

    Dear Carlos, Thank you for the Molly update. Your outlook made it ok for me, and the latest picture warmed my heart. You are so very kind to share with us. I hope you and Donna enjoy your travels, and I’m glad you will share with us. Again, thank you

  22. Leslee Says:

    Austin is amazing… I’m glad to be able to follow how and what he is doing…Molly is always on my mind and in my heart…Safe travels to Carlos and Donna. Can’t wait to see all the fantastic photos..All the best..

  23. Linda Smith Says:

    Thank you for sharing this news about the little owlets with us. I am saddened that some didn’t survive, but not totally surprised as you said they were very small. We know they are in Heaven along with Jody :) God always knows what is best for his little animals. The 4 remaining owlets are so precious and so glad to hear they are doing well.
    I hope you and Donna have a wonderful and safe trip. Take care and we look forward to seeing pictures in the future.

    Linda Smith

  24. Janice Barreras Says:

    Saddened by the news of the two youngest. Nature does take care of life as it sees fit. Sometimes, as humans we intervene too much and create frail and sickly lives, without much hope for quality of life, for those who make it through. Am excited for the two of you regarding your travels and look forward to any photos you both share. Continued good luck to Austin who is just starting his life’s calling — know there is much promise there and enjoy the latest news on all of the Royal family members (human and otherwise!!) Safe travels.

  25. Bonita Lyon Says:

    Ah, that is very sad, but as you say, the fittest survive and this happens every day in nature. Thanks for posting the pic of the family of 4 left…adoreable as always. Beautiful pic of the Kingbird too. Loved the story of the sunglasses..hahah..Lucky Martha. Best wishes for a safe, enjoyable trip. Look forward to your photos. Bonnibell

  26. Deb Says:

    Thank you so much for the update. Love the picture of the little ones. They are so precious. Molly and McGee will always be my favorites. From the owlets and you I have learned so much. Hope you enjoy all of your travels and will look forward to more beautiful pictures.

  27. Jo-Ann Says:

    Thanks for the update… looking forward to your pic’s on the road… Have a wonderful, wonderful time…

  28. Janice Says:

    Ahhh….memories of the first awsome four. Hope all goes well for these cuties.
    Glad to hear you are almost out the door for your travels. It sound like so much fun. I will be looking for your posted pictures from your trip.
    Austin’s web site is COOL! Wish him and his friends good luck with it. He will do well with it as he has had great input from Grandpa.
    Safe travels Carlos and Donna

  29. Anita in Baton Rouge, LA Says:

    Carlos, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of the two smallest owlest. I really hoped that they would eventually be able to thrive like Sydney’s smallest ones have. Although it is sad, I am thankful that Molly & McGee have 4 healthy owlets. Thank you for continuing to post updates on this blog and congrats on the new-er motor home. As a lover of all things flora & fauna my one and only trip to Canada was amazing. I know yours will be as well.

    Happy Trails!

  30. Anita in Baton Rouge, LA Says:

    Um, should be ‘two smallest owlets’.

  31. mandozee Says:

    sad about the owllets but nature knows best. enjoy your travels mandozee

  32. mandozee Says:


  33. AnnInSDtoo Says:

    Agree with PegRod, and appreciate your level-headed information, said with love from your heart.

    Have a wonderful trip, stay happy and healthy, and may God continue to bless the Royal Family.

  34. francie bowers Says:

    Hi Carlos Donna & Austin, thanks so much for the update, Molly’s peeps are just beautiful! I am sure she & McGee are wonderful parents as usual!! Have fun on your trip and thanks again for the post…deet deet!!

  35. TN216 Says:

    Love reading your updates on Molly and her owlets. Did you try naming this clutch at all? Thanks for sharing information with us.

  36. June Schafer Says:

    Thanks for the M&M update. So happy that they have 4 healthy babies to raise and fledge.
    Hope your “shake down cruise” (my husband was Navy also!) goes well and you can take off as soon as the weather up north co-operates.
    Travel blessings to you!

  37. planetmom Says:

    Thank you Carlos for the update on Molly and McGee. It is sad to hear she lost 2 owlets but as we know this is nature. Glad she has 4 healthy owlets. You have a safe fun trip and keep us posted. Molly will always be our #1 Owl!

  38. LoveYourDNA Says:

    Very curious about the small eggs and owlets… I’d love a professional opinion on that. I might email Trystan Williams over in the UK for his opinion. If I find out anything of value, I’ll leave a comment here.

    Shake it down!

  39. Janet Says:

    Thanx for the pic of the 4 owlets. What a bunch!

  40. Deb Says:

    It is sad but Molly still has 4 beautiful little owlets. She is a great mother. Those 2 little babies were here for a purpose even though it was only for a couple of weeks. Thank you so much for continuing to share Molly and her babies with us.

    I am happy for Austin and his friends on their business and wish all of them the best of luck.

    Have a wonderful trip. Looking forward to your pictures.

    Deb in OH

  41. joly2u Says:

    Thanks for all the info, Carlos, and I’m so glad Coach and 4 beautiful owlets are fine. Lots of blessings to the 2 that couldn’t make it and all the hurting people in Japan–may their woes pass with some special grace. How did you create the lovely effect with the kingbird photo?

  42. joly2u Says:

    p.s. The owlet in the upper right corner reminds me of Max. It seems odd not to get to know these, but you are being very kind, as always, letting us get peeks.

  43. SARose69 Says:

    Sorry to hear about the 2 littlest ones, but very glad there are 4 healthy owlets!

  44. donna Says:

    Thank you Carlos for the picture of the babies, sad to hear about the 2 small ones but we know this happens sometimes. The 4 owlets look very healthy and I’m sure M&M will take good care of them. Thank you for sharing the letter from Coach it’s nice to hear some good news! Hope you have a nice short weekend trip and everything goes well with the motor home. Keep the updates and pictures coming we all look forward to them. Love to you all, take care! Thank You again for all you do!

  45. Liela M. Maielua Says:

    As always thanks so much for the pics of the 4 owlets, its always exciting to get updates. Have a great trip and send lots of pics.

  46. SactoSylvia Says:

    Thank you for the picture of the four owlets – I’m they’re keeping Molly and McGee very busy! Best wishes on your travels!

    By the way, it’s nice to see that KangaRobin is keeping the tradition you started alive, and that one first grade teacher has incorporated another owl box into her class curriculum:

    Missoula Hawthorne Elementary Students Get A Birds-Eye View Of Owls – News Story – NBCMontana NBC M.

  47. Cindy Says:

    I was struck by the size discrepancy during the video updated. It will be interesting to hear if the experts have any input.

  48. Suzie2 Says:

    Thank you for all of your updates, Carlos. I am sorry to hear about the two smallest owlets, but is nature as we know it and nature knows best.
    Take good care and have a wonderful trip. I look forward to seeing your photos…you are an amazing photographer!
    Ok, I have to add…I hope you got to see our Aztecs win today :-)…whoo-hooo!

  49. floridaheat Says:

    Go have a wonderful time you two!!!!! And thanks for the pictures and updates on the Molly family and the other birds in your yard. And thanks for the traveling picture posts.

  50. CAequuslvr Says:

    So glad to hear that Coach is okay. I simply cannot imagine living through such a tragedy. The Japanese people are certainly showing the world how to cope with such losses and the aftermath with grace and respect for their fellow survivors.

    Very sad about losing the 2 owlets. Always difficult to hear. I think of the drawing by Vacadude where those owlets who have already passed are there to greet those owlets who have recently crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

    Carlos & Donna, so pleased to hear that your newer RV has passed inspection.

    What fun for Martha/calliopekid to receive the glasses that Carlos was wearing–all very special.

  51. sewgirl Says:

    Thanks so much for the updates on Molly’s wonderful family! You have brought so much joy to our family by giving us this special experience. May God bless you all!

  52. Sue Ellen Brown Says:

    Carlos, loved the picture of the Western Kingbird. I live in SW Florida in Cape Coral. Last winter we had a Western Kingbird living in our backyard and he was quite a character. In the afternoon when the sun hit the windows in the back of the house just right, I think he saw his reflection in the glass and thought it was another Kingbird. He’d attack that “bird” every day. Our cats would sit on the windowsill to watch this. Maybe he was trying to attack the cats! :-) He was only aggressive toward this reflection of a bird and never toward any of the other birds who winter in our yard. We can go through a 25 lb sack of birdfeed in one week in the winter, plus suet. We’ve never had a Western Kingbird before this winter and I hope he comes back again.

  53. Kim Says:

    Thank you for the informative and honest updates, Carlos. We have learned to expect both optimism and realism from our friend, Carlos. Safe travels to you both!!


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