When did the eggs hatch?
Incubation usually takes about 30-34 days.

  • Egg 1: March 17 – 18, 2010 (It’s believed that this is the egg Molly ate early on.) No hatch occurred on these dates.
  • Egg 2: March 20 – 22, 2010; “Max” hatched on March 21, 2010 at 11:45 a.m. PDT
  • Egg 3: March 22 – 24, 2010; “Pattison” hatched on March 23, 2010 at 6:47 p.m. PDT
  • Egg 4: March 24 – 26, 2010; “Austin” hatched on March 25, at 3:11 p.m. PDT
  • Egg 5: March 26 – 28, 2010; “Wesley” Hatched on March 28
  • Egg 6: March 29 – 31, 2010; “Dudley” Egg 6 never hatched, chances are it was a dud.

What is brooding?
It’s when a bird sits on the eggs to keep them warm until they hatch. Molly’s eggs are 1.8 inches long. This is Molly’s first clutch of eggs, and she broods her eggs for about one month to 34 days.

Does McGee sit on the eggs sometimes?
Nope! Female barn owls fill this role exclusively.

Why does she move the eggs with her beak?
Molly gently rotates the eggs with her beak to keep them evenly warmed and keep the owlet inside from sticking to the inside of the egg shell.

Why does Molly have that dark line down her chest?
When Molly faces the camera directly, you can see a dark line down the center of her chest. This area is missing feathers and is called a “brood patch”. When she sits on them, this allows the eggs to be close to her skin and keeps them warm.

Can we hear the owlets in the shell?
Yes, you can hear soft screeching inside the egg for over a day before it hatches.

Doesn’t the owlet require “air” from the pip before it can peep?
There is an air pocket that forms in the egg between the membrane and the egg’s outer shell. The owlet breaks through the membrane before piping and gets gulp of air.


How long does it take for the owlet to hatch?
First, the owlet makes a hole in the egg (called a “pip”) with a sharp tooth on its beak. After that, it can take up to 24 hours for the owlet to appear. Molly and McGee’s eggs will continue to hatch until March 31, 2010. Once they are hatched out, they will stay in the nest until mid-late May. Watch this short video of a barn owl hatching.

Will I be able to see the “pip”?
When an egg starts to hatch, we probably won’t be able to tell by sight. Instead, look for Molly’s behavior. She’ll be more agitated and will get up frequently to check that the egg is facing up. When Pattison hatched, all we noticed was Molly picking up the eggshell!

What happens to the egg shells after they hatch?
Molly eats the egg shells, as they have lots of calcium and are good for her. This also removes any odor that might attract predators like raccoons or opossums.

Would Molly know if all the eggs she was sitting on were not going to hatch (like the one she ate)?
It’s hard to say. Birds do seem to sense when an egg isn’t viable, whether it’s from smell or lack of movement.

Learn about baby owls!

8 Responses to “When Do The Eggs hatch?”

  1. Fran Carlson Says:

    My family and I (in San Antonio, TX) have been enjoying reading your info and watching the owl box. Our friends, Sam & Bonnie Warren, from Fullerton, CA are visiting us now and told us about it so we are all watching together. Thank you so much!

  2. P. Gray Says:

    just today we found what we believe to be an owl egg in a large flower pot that was filled with weeds and debris. we have barred and screech owls in our yard and assume it is not a viable egg as there is only one and no sign of any mature owls lately. we are leaving it alone to see what, if anything, happens. As we were researching online we found your site. thanks for the fascinating info and video feed.



  4. joyce costello wright Says:

    beautiful pictures carlos. thank you so
    very much for sharing them with all of

    joyce love those owls.

  5. Chris in Olympia, WA (cbbrunner) Says:

    Will you post somewhere the dates of the laying (and hatching) of the eggs in the second clutch?

  6. Ruthie Says:

    My daughter got me “hooked” on Molly & McGee.
    I spent more time watching them and family till they ‘flew the coop”!!! Will be great watching this clutch and all the antics!! Thanks Carlos for being so good to the owls which I have loved for so many years….now I know what goes on from birth to fledging!! Thanks so much for sharing..

  7. James Says:

    My molly mom laid eggs and their hanging on the side of the tank n moving around their white wat to do plz comment bck

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