Will Molly and McGee be together for life?
Yes. Barn owls mate for life.
Why does he come in and sit on her?
When McGee sits on her, this is called bonding. It’s quick and noisy. It is not procreative activity, it’s meant to reinforce their pair bond.
So, is the bonding actual mating?
Bonding isn’t mating. It doesn’t fertilize eggs. It’s a behavior that, like hugging or kissing, makes them “feel” bonded to each other and more likely to raise a successful clutch.
Does Molly get hurt during bonding?
No. If you watch closely, McGee is careful not to put his talons into Molly. The screeching can sound alarming is just part of the process.
Can they break the eggs or hurt the owlets while bonding?
No, McGee weighs less than one pound and the eggs are very strong. Molly also raises up her body so that she’s not putting weight on the eggs or owlets.
When Molly calls to him, why doesn’t he come?
Sometimes Molly “talks” to McGee when he’s flying by. He’s not stopping in yet, but he’ll usually be by soon.
When did Molly lay her eggs?
- Egg 1: February 13, 2010; 12:15 PM PT
- Egg 2: February 16, 2010; 7:23 AM PT
- Egg 3: February 18, 2010; 9:13 AM PT
- Egg 4: February 20, 2010; 11:07 AM PT
- Egg 1: July 6, 2010;
- Egg 2: July 8, 2010;
- Egg 3: July 11, 2010;
- Egg 4: July 14, 2010;
How long have they been in the box?
Molly and McGee’s first clutch was laid in February, 2010.
Why do people think this is Molly and McGee’s first clutch?
Molly had an interesting reaction when she laid her first egg. She didn’t seem to know what it was nor what to do with it. She also had a hard time keeping the eggs under her. According to Carlos, Molly seemed to learn and got better at it as she laid more eggs.
How many clutches of eggs will they lay this year?
Owls usually lay one clutch of eggs per year. Sometimes they lay a second set of eggs in the same year after the first brood has learned to fly and feed themselves. This is called “double clutching”.
Will they come back to the same place to nest again next year?
It’s possible, unless another pair of owls has claimed the spot.
Is McGee bonded to other owls?
It is not unheard of for male barn owls have a second mate at the same time. However, as far as we know, McGee is only mated with Molly.
What happens if the male does not return due accident, etc.?
If the male does not return, the female will usually abandon the nest. Having a mate is critical to the survival of the owlets.