Family Breakfast Third Clutch

May 6, 2011

Molly Arrives With a Treat

Owlet Has The Treat

Owlet Looks Up at Kestrel Box

You almost made it

Owlet makes it up with a treat

Mom wants me to leave

If you were up early this morning, around 5 AM PST all four owlets of the Third Clutch had returned to The Owl Box for breakfast. Then at 5:10 Molly brought in a treat and not be left out McGee brought in a treat at 5:12 AM. There you had it, the complete family of the Third Clutch; they must have known I was recording.

Yesterday, if you happened to be watching shortly after lunch, I cleaned the gag shag out of The Owl Box, which by the way weighed 13 pounds. I tried to give you a description as I was doing it but the mic didn’t seem to be working. Also, I could not turn around and face the camera because I was precariously standing on top of a 12 foot ladder. I don’t recommend you do this at home. Latter I got the mic to work after resetting the power box, but I noticed this morning that same mic has gone wacko again.

Believe it or not that gag shag did not smell that bad, but it does have a very strong acid ammonia smell.  Yes, I was wearing a mask, a long-sleeved shirt, a hat and rubber gloves and as soon as I was finished I took a shower, washed my clothes and tossed the rubber gloves.

I also cleaned the cameras while I was at it as they were covered with what I call owl dust, a white powdery stuff.  If your camera is located inside the box, it may get so covered with owl dust that you won’t be able to see your owls. This owl dust gets worse the longer the box is in used. I didn’t notice it much with the first clutch but with the third clutch it was really bad when we turned from our travels the cameras were so covered with owl dust that they were in effect useless until I cleaned them.

The question now is, how many more nights will the owlets show up before Molly and McGee them the boot…I mean the talon. At this point Molly and McGee are still feeding them at the box. Currently, the best viewing times for action are 8PM to 10PM PST and 4AM to 6AM PST.

We’ll leave the cameras on for you.

Have a great day!

Carlos, Donna and Austin

72 Responses to “Family Breakfast Third Clutch”

  1. Says:

    As always Carlos, amazing and enjoyable photos! You must be the only man ever to have actually weighed a bag of gag shag!

    Ginny in Maine

  2. debbie Says:

    thank you, carlos, donna and austin!!
    you know how much we are all loving this!!


    watching the owls last night i was thinking how incredibly magical it is…to have an owl family flying and playing all over your yard!


  3. Sharon Penfold Says:

    Thank you, thank you, Carlos and Donna, for leaving the cameras on for us! Life just isn’t the same without Molly and McGee,, and your wonderful backyard. Carlos, you are an excellent writer, and your commentary during your trip was great reading. Such a multi-talented person is rare! Truly, thank you doesn’t begin to say enough about my gratitude for how much pleasure you have brought to my life. Blessings.

  4. barb abbott Says:

    Thanks for leaving the cameras on.. what a show this morning!
    Barb in Iowa

  5. Thank you so much for broadcasting the third clutch. I enjoy receiving the email updates on not only the Owl family, but your and Donna’s travels.

  6. Teri Friedman Says:

    Thanks so much for broadcasting the third clutch. I wonder how quickly Molly and McGee will be back in the box once it is empty again.
    Are you ready for Clutch #4???

  7. Wow, you did the cleaning quickly! You were well protected too. Another smart move. I have an owl poem and an ink drawing of a pair, published in current spring/summer issue of in a Midwest nature publication, Seeding the Snow. (Drawing based on a different box). It’s fun to share their wonderful life habits, those that most people never see. Thanks for all your great work!!!

    • PegRod Says:

      Marilyn, I think it would be great if you could share the link to your poem and drawing, if it is online!

      • PegRod Says:

        I found information about the bi-annual print journal “Seeding the Snow” which sounds like a fabulous journal, but not open online access.

        I also saw that you have written much beloved poetry, especially about cranes, for many years.

  8. Barb Says:

    What a wonderful experience we had today. Magnificent views of all 6. One went into the box and waited until the last minute to finally fly off, excitment. Thanks for leaving on the cameras so we can still watch from afar.
    Donna, Happy Mothers Day, from ALL your family. Barb in MI

  9. Deb in Ma. Says:

    Loved watching the show this morning! Thank you Donna, Carlos, and Austin for sharing this opportunity with all of mankind. Even letting us watch the removal of the gag shag…gee, that was fun(?) and I was a part of it!!!

  10. mandozee Says:

    Carlos, Donna and Austin: I was up and watching and saw all six sharing breakfast this morning. it was so nice to see them all together, healthy and happy. Thanks for leaving the camera on for me,(us.) I’ll be back tonight to see if anyone comes back home. M&M take such great care of their kids. mandozee

  11. Ann Ragsdale Says:

    Thanks Carlos – and happy Mother’s day to Molly and Mizriz Donna. Both excellent moms. While visiting the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin yesterday – we looked up high on a rock wall and saw movement (by a big yucca type plant). It was a baby Barred Owl with a lot of fuzzy baby clothes still on. So adorable! We watched and hoped for a good picture – but as you know Carlos – that doesn’t always happen. Thank you for teaching me to always look up and see the wonder. It is out there to behold!

  12. sharon durham Says:

    Your gagshag cleanup should be on Mike Rowe’s “Dirty Jobs”….loved watching the babies play this early am and was a little surprised to see treats being given out…M&M its for rent again but you got to get the kids to leave first….Thanks again for all you both do in order for us to enjoy Molly & McGee and their kids……will ck in from time to time to see if there will be a 4th clutch….

  13. Bonnibell Says:

    Oh wow!! 13 lbs!!! What a labor of love, Carlos. I am surprised that all four came back for breakfast, but what fun and you got some GREAT photos. Thanks for keeping the cameras on! Bonnibell

  14. SactoSylvia Says:

    Carlos – you are so sweet to keep the cameras rolling and provide us with these updates! I had a chance to watch for awhile last night, and then let the owlets provide background noise as I did other things. Many thanks, again, to you and Donna!

  15. Lynne Townsend Says:

    Carlos, Donna, and Austin,

    This morning was wonderful to behold! Loved all the activity—-they really waited a long time to fly off this a.m. I will be watching tonight—thank you so much for leaving the cameras on, and of course your wonderful pictures!!! Happy Mothers’ Day to you Donna.


  16. Becky Says:

    Last night around ll:30 EST I could see the flashes from your camera and knew we’d have more pictures to see today. Something to look forward to. Because this group is playing farther away from the box, it’s more difficult to see all the activity. Standing on top of a 12ft ladder? Yikes.You be careful up there. Thanks again for the great post and hope you all have a lovely Mother’s Day weekend.

  17. francie bowers Says:

    thanks so much for the wonderful pics, these 4 are real homebodies! Happy Mother’s Day Donna & Molly!

  18. Sharon Says:

    Thanks for the updates and great photos, as usual! Ah, that last photo does look a little pathetic, poor thing. LOL!!!!

  19. NatureLuver Says:

    Oh man, I was watching this morning again around 4:30 a.m., CST and saw all four owlets and was hoping to see M&M. Tried to long on at work at 7 a.m., CST but Ustream said the box was off line, :( TY Carlos for leaving the cameras rolling. I’m guessing no one returned to the box this morning either? Was the 13 lbs of gagshag just from this clutch or from Ashley & Carrie too? Glad you got in to clean it. Last year the box did not stay empty for very long.
    What are you guys planning for Austin’s graduation? Maybe you can’t say here since Austin reads this too?! When is the big day?
    Make sure to tell Donna Happy Mother’s Day for me. Would love it if you would post a picture of you two.
    Have a great day!
    Liz Garney
    League City, TX

  20. VSue Says:

    Thank you for the update

    I was peeking in now and then late into the night as I could not fall asleep

    Their sounds helped me to finally fall asleep so I did miss the good stuff with food delivery.

    Thanks for the sharing

  21. VSue Says:

    Oh! Just one more thing

    Happy Molly’s Day to Molly and to Donna too

    I mean Mother’s Day


  22. VSue Says:


    Just one more thing!

    Thank you so much for leaving the cameras rolling.

  23. Glenn Says:

    Carlos it was a very good step by step video. I saw a bird on the box about 10 minutes in when you had the camera out. Was that Callie the Kestrel hawk? It was only there for about 5 seconds and was there jusst before you put the camera back it so i don’t know if you saw or not.
    Carlos, thank you for the video.

  24. June Schafer Says:

    Saw the show this morning. What fun! It was good to see both M&M but was surprised they brought treats to the box. As always I love your pictures and captions. I think the last one out today had to look once more to be sure his nice soft bed really was gone! I’ll be watching again tomorrow am to see who comes home.

  25. Jo-Ann Says:

    Thank you again… see the babies do not want to leave until they celebrate mothers day with Molly!!! Good owls…

  26. Maxine Says:

    Hi Carlos,

    I enjoyed watching the four teen owls early this morning. I saw both Molly & McGee bring in a treat. I thought for a moment one had decided to stay in for the day, but at the last second, he/she decided to fly to the palmz tree.


  27. Joan from Colorado Says:

    I think that the date of departure is going to be Mothers day.. then they will go their separate ways.. how sweet is that? your latest pictures are phenominal..i wonder what the reaction was to having the whole place all cleaned out.. you are a good landlord.. I’ll bet Molly is thinking Hmmm, a new clean place to start it all over again.. she was dreading all of that spring cleaning. with my good thoughts, Joan

  28. Donna Simonson Says:

    I saw them all and thought “it’s an owl family reunion and party in honor of Mother’s Day!” It was just so special seeing them socialize together as a family. Carlos you have opened up a new world and insight that will be I just know one of the most precious gifts I will ever receive. Are you ready for yet one more, “thank you!”???!!!
    Love, hugs and prayers owlways,
    “OwlLuver”, Murrieta CA

  29. SARose69 Says:

    I thought the camera was off as I haven’t been getting a picture. Will try to figure out what is going on! I did enjoy your cleaning video and could hear most of what you said although it was muffled by your stance and the mask! But rather that than you taking a header off the ladder!

  30. Lisa A. Burns Says:

    Thank you!!
    So much fun!!!

  31. PegRod Says:

    These are more stunningly beautiful photographs for the Molly Royal Collections – amazing depth of color and clarity and more variety in terms of capturing the uniqueness of the moment!

    Somehow, I am reminded of a poem I loved as a teenager by e.e. cummings (he believed in no caps, too, and liberty of punctuation for all!) – “I thank you God for most this amazing”.

    Thank you, Carlos.

    • PegRod Says:

      I did not think the picture would be posted, just the link – apologies! But it is a great poem. This was from a time in the past century (lol) when people did not understand that cigarettes were bad for you! Everyone knows that now!

      • Marilee Godsil Says:

        That poem and the elation of hearing it from the mouth of he who “birthed” it (wrote it) is so moving. Thank you. PegRod for posting.

  32. OUBobcat (barb) Says:

    Carlos: Absolutely love your color night camera. Truly beautiful moments to treasure watching the owlets mature. So fun watching one of the girls discover that the gagshag was gone, she even had to go in and check the box out, look around and do a double take, very endearing. When you clean you don’t mess around, very quickly done. So nice that we may have a night or two to enjoy their antics. Thanks again for doing this!

  33. Carolyn Dancey Says:

    You said you named the owlets Pip,Pep,and Pop.
    What is the name of the fourth owlet?

    Carolyn in Ontario Canada

  34. Ruth Says:

    Thank you for leaving the cameras on. I check in a couple times a day. I too cannot take Molly off of my favorites! Happy Mother’s Day Donna.

  35. yay owls Says:

    Thanks for letting us experience the joys of the 3rd clutch.

  36. Theresa Says:

    I got to see a couple of them this morning when I got up. I did get to watch a bit last night and loved every minute. This morning it was so nice to see them play back and forth. I sure love these funny faces. Thank you Carlos and Donna for not giving up on us and know we need to see them. I miss the broadcasts you did and the chat. Funny how we worm ourself into each others hearts. Have a happy day sunday Donna!

    Theresa aka windbeneathwing

  37. Kay Graham Says:

    Thank you Carlos and Donna… I can’t come up with words that have not been written over and over from all the owlbox watchers out there… You have been wonderful to all of us Happy Mothers Day Donna and a future Happy Fathers Day to you too Carlos!

    Love Kay, aka TurkyLurky

  38. Linda /artgirl4388 Says:

    We may watch other owl boxes, but there will never be one as meaningful to us all as M&M. You began it all and have been more than generous with your time. We have a much better appreciation of wildlife now because of you and Donna. Many, many thanks and may you have a Happy Mother’s Day donna – after all, you certainly have many grandowls! Love, Linda/artgirl

  39. Moniq50 Says:

    Thank you Carlos and Donna for leaving the cameras up for us to watch. M&M is the first place i go to in the morning to check on the status, and a maybe a thrill of an owlet or two :) Thankyou so much for all you do..This is truly home for me.. A very Happy Mothers day to you Donna..

  40. PegRod Says:

    For people interested in learning more about Carlos and Donna Royal, while waiting for Molly & McGee’s Fourth Clutch, I recommend that you spend some time studying their personal website to see great art, photography, furniture, travels and more!,0

  41. Lisa Treacy Says:

    Hi Carlos!

    I actually was lucky enough to see all 4 owlets this morning (I live in IL so it wasn’t so early for me…lol)!! Thank you so much for keeping the camera going. I love seeing the owlets!!

  42. Kathy Martinez Says:

    Stay off the damn ladder !Love the pics , they are wounderful.

  43. Kathy Martinez Says:

    Happy Mothers Day , Donna .

  44. FloridaSkye Says:

    Carlos, thank you for letting us in on the fun of The Third Clutch!!

  45. Holly Sue Says:

    Dear Carlos and Donna,
    I returned home to find a virtual gallery of beautiful photographs of Molly, McGee and their family! What a treasure! Thank you so very much for turning the cameras on so that we could share these last precious days of the third clutch – what wonderful memories are stirred up – so sweet and sad at the same time as the owlets fly off on their own. I enjoyed your video of cleaning the box – what a job! You are a dream landlord indeed! I hope that Austin will put together a new third clutch video – it would be a prized collectible! Thank you again and Happy Mother’s Day, Donna!
    Love to all of you! Holly Sue

  46. PegRod, nice of you to research the nature journal. No, not all their content is online apparently. It is copyrighted to them right now, and was just mailed this week, so I hesitate publishing it here. You could order a booklet from them I suppose, from their website (Seeding the Snow). I might do a small poetry book of owl poems or nature poems some day. Definitely will be doing owl art, and have started that. Just recovering from surgery now. Will add this art to my website, and/or other venues in future. Website? Search by my name. Thanks. The owls’ lives, through the Royals, has been a great insight indeed. – – yes, I am member of the Int’l Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wis, and was featured artist there in 2005. (And wrote 2 poetry books on cranes.) All 15 of the world’s species can be seen there. Quite remarkable! Go if possible!

  47. Theresa Says:

    I was looking for the video of Carlos cleaning the owlbox…does anyone know where it is. Thank you.
    Theresa aka windbeneathwing

  48. Shelley Says:

    Dear Carlos and Donna,
    Thank you for turning on the cameras again! My Matthew who is 6 now, has seen all three clutches and talks proudly about them being from his hometown!
    Our Best,

  49. Theresa Says:

    I found it…I can’t believe all that was in that box! Truely amazing. That’s alot of horking going on lol. Sure made me nervous to see how windy it was and Carlos on that ladder. Please be very careful when doing that. I held my breath a couple times lol.

    Theresa aka windbeneathwing

  50. Joanne Koehnke Says:

    Absolutely STUNNING photos, Carlos!!!!! I appreciate your updates very, very much!!! I am so glad you had perfect timing to be able to clean out the owlbox and clean the cameras. These owlets are so beautiful as Molly and McGee’s babies always are!!!!! Have a wonderful weekend!

  51. donna Says:

    Carlos, thank so much for leaving the camera on I love watching these little owlets. They remind me so much of the first clutch. The pictures are so beautiful, seems like Molly always has a mouse hanging out her mouth, she has alot of mouths to feed! Hopefully they’ll come back tonight, I’m going to miss them. It seems like the last two don’t want to leave yet. Thank You Again and Happy Mothers Day Donna!

  52. Kit Says:

    Thanks for letting us watch the family reunion!

  53. BJ Says:

    Oh to spend a short evening in your neck of the woods…watching the owls. Thank you for sharing your sights and adventures with us.

  54. Kim Gorman Says:

    Carlos! What precious photos and video. Thank you!! The little owlet sitting on the porch most of tonight when I watched reminded me so of Pattison, with that large body and hunched posture. And your photo sure looks like that owlet is more “rufus” as you would say, indicating a female. The one on the kestral box looks more male with the sharp white demarcation. Just guesses! Thank you for cleaning the lenses and having the cameras on as much as you have. We appreciate this wonderful sight and site!


  55. joly2u Says:

    Carlos, message to M4, don’t scare me to death. Sitting on the porch and roof in the daylight, 5:55am. Finally flew off to palm tree. Aaargh.

  56. Deb Says:

    Your photos are always the best. And I love the captions you put under them. I love them all. But the one with the owlet looking up at the Kestrel Box just captures my heart out of this group. Thanks for posting the pictures.

    Deb in OH

  57. Sandy Says:

    Carlos you take the best pictures! your so funny too. Molly and the young ones are so darn cute. Thanks for recording this and sharing. I think the owlets will come back for Mothers Day! Happy Mothers Day Donna, and to all of the moms out there!
    From Sandy in San Marcos

  58. debbie Says:

    just watched mockz chasing a cat out of the garden.
    you go, mockz!!


  59. Barbara Bostwick Says:

    OK Carlos, I’m pretty sure I have it figured out now. You cleaned out the box, made it presentable again and Molly and McGee think, “HEY, the floor is clean and that must mean it’s time for us to start a new family, Buzz off, kids!” I saw the “action” a while ago – – – someone chased someone off and there is one owl standing in the doorway. Here we go again! I love it!! Thanks!

  60. Mary Ann Says:

    Hi Carlos,

    I finally have time to look at videos and would love to see the one of you cleaning the owl box out, but can’t find it. What is the link?

    Thanks for turning the camera back on for night viewing… exciting!

    • PegRod Says:

      Mary Ann – you may have already found the link, but if not:

      Carlos Royal’s Adventure in Gag Shag Removal – The Owl Box: Clutch Three.

      Put on your earphones, earbuds, or turn up the volume while Carlos narrates this recording and gives some good advice about owl box placement and maintenance, while wearing a face mask, gloves, hat and a long sleeved shirt and pants.

      Carlos Removes Gag Shag 3/5/11 1:30 PM

  61. Peg, thanks so much for giving the link again to cleaning the box. This is the first time I’ve been able to find it. Carlos, couldn’t you take a narrow-bladed power saw up there and cut off the bottom of that door? Or maybe there’s a 1″x1″ support piece behind that area, which prevents that. It would be better if you didn’t have to get up on that high ladder every clutch!!!

  62. Morganminpin Says:

    The new night camera is wonderful, makes me feel like I’m right there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: