Who is McGee?
McGee is Molly’s mate. He provides Molly with food while she’s sitting on the eggs.

How big is McGee?
He is about 12 inches tall with a wingspan of about 42 inches.

Do Molly and McGee look alike?
McGee’s chest and face are lighter-colored than Molly, and he’s not quite as tall or heavy as Molly. Read more about the gender size difference in barn owls.

Does McGee sit on the eggs, too?
No, he doesn’t. Male barn owls hunt for the female and owlets and sleep outside the nest box.

Where does McGee sleep?
McGee sleeps in the palm tree near the owl box. Barn owls are strictly nocturnal and rarely observed in flight during daylight hours.

If he sleeps all day, at what time does McGee usually arrive?
McGee doesn’t come until dark. McGee usually shows up about 30-40 minutes after sundown (Pacific time). On his first visit, he’s just waking up and only bonds with Molly. On his second visit, he usually brings food. He usually visits 2-4 times during the nighttime hours.

Why does McGee leave for so long?
He is out hunting for rabbits, mice, and other animals for food. Catching these animals takes patience, skill, and time.

How far is a barn owl’s territory?
Their range is about 2-5 miles.


Will he help teach the owlets to hunt?
Yes. Molly and he will teach them together. It takes about one week for them to learn.

McGee seems like such a competent hunter!

Yes! In fact, like most owls, he is strong enough to lift and carry an animal three times his weight (about three pounds). McGee can hunt in complete darkness just using sound, alone. He has 3D hearing as a result of his disc-shaped face which directs sound toward his asymmetrically located ears. Be glad you’re not a mouse!

Is there a “positive side” for all those poor rabbits and mice that owls eat?
Yes, actually rabbits and rodents produce many offspring many times each year starting at a very young age. If their numbers were not controlled, they would soon not only eat all of their available food, but also all of ours. If owls had no sources of food they would soon become extinct. So, owls keep the population of these animals in balance.

Read about the bond between Molly and McGee.

6 Responses to “McGee Facts”

  1. Audra Martin Says:

    Thanks, Carlos, for letting me see the hatching and development of these owls. It has been most interesting.

  2. ctmjmj Says:

    thanks for all the info

  3. Bobbe Simon Says:

    All this information that you have put together, with wonderful detail and organization, is absolutely fabulous!!! Thank you for all your time, enthusiasm and care.

  4. Marla Borman Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful look at nature. My husband was a falconer and we had so much fun with our Harris Hawk and Falcon. We lived in Colfax which is about 50 miles east of Sacramento I would hear the owls hooting every night.

  5. Dru Thomas Says:

    I just wanted to say thank-you for sharing this beautiful part of nature!

  6. I have followed Molly and McGee from the beginning. It is a wonderful experience for anyone of any age. I got my granddaughter checking in on Molly while she was visiting. She also kept it up while back at home.I have always been facinated with owls and this experience has enhanced my curiousity. Thank you to Carlos and Donna for the opportunity to view nature at it’s best in San Marcos, CA.

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