Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.
My wife is addicted to a sordid reality show about an unmarried couple who live on the margins of society, staying up all night, eating dead rodents, and having sex in front of their children. That’s right, she’s been watching the Live Owl Nest Box Cam on Sportsman’s Paradise Online, which is beamed from the nest of two barn owls, Molly and McGee, and their clutch of six eggs (two now hatched, one broken) in San Marcos, California. The show is so wildly entrancing that it’s rapidly gaining viewers, which have been running upwards of 15,000 at a time.
Last night featured a dramatic episode in which McGee was late for his regular evening feeding appearance, and the cam’s audience of 17,000-plus waited with bated breath for his return as a clearly agitated Molly called for him and rested forlornly on her brood. When he finally appeared with a dead rat for Molly and her hatchlings, there were no apologies or excuses, just his typical demand for instant, brief, and rough sex. And so it goes.
What will today bring? Will another hatchling emerge, as is expected? Will the owls eat mouse, rabbit, rat, or kitten for dinner? Will McGee’s insatiable carnal appetite relent?
One commenter, Rebecca, is sticking around for the long haul. “Good morning everyone!” she wrote today. “Ready for egg No. 3 to hatch? I’ve cleared my calendar and will sit with my work in front of the computer all day!”
Go ahead and laugh. But don’t be surprised if you soon join her.
Find out more about Molly, McGee, and other barn owls on the blog Molly’s Box.
UPDATE 3/25/10: Another egg did in fact hatch today. Carlos, the proprietor of the nest box cam, named this third hatchling Austin.
UPDATE 3/28/10: Another hatchling emerged and was dubbed Wesley. There are now four baby owls: Max, Pattison, Austin, and Wesley. One unhatched egg remains.
Image courtesy of Sportsman’s Paradise Online.