Molly the Owl Eats the Easter Bunny

| 4/5/2010 11:36:48 AM

Molly in her nestThe California barn owl known as Molly to her large webcam audience delivered a distinctly unsentimental nature lesson to her Easter weekend viewers: She killed a screaming, struggling rabbit in a grisly episode on Saturday night.

The symbolism of the moment was not lost on her audience, which dwindled from more than 14,000 to less than 5,000 as the Easter bunny met his bloody demise. Regular viewers are used to seeing McGee, Molly’s mate, bring dead rodents every night to Molly and her four hatchlings in their nest box. They are not used to seeing him bring a still-living rabbit for Molly to finish off as the victim emits blood-curdling, human-sounding wails of agony.

Molly’s comment board lit up with reactions to the carnage:

“I wonder if we are really ready for this kind of reality.”

“That burger you ate today had eyes and screamed too.”

“I think that the meat we eat has a pretty bad trip b4 it gets to our dinner table.”

 “Stay calm and carry on. We can handle this.”

“Awesome totally awesome.”

“My grandchild is crying.”

“It is no longer ‘warm and fuzzy.’ It’s going to get much worse as the babies get older.”

Yes, the cuteness factor is going to be increasingly challenged as Molly and her four voracious owlets continue their family saga. Perhaps McGee is helping to train the kids to kill their own food by bringing still-living rodents; the other night he brought a live mouse.

In any case, it seems clear that many of Molly’s viewers are learning that nature, while often beautiful and inspirational, can just as often be brutish and shocking. It will be interesting to see whether the banner ads that have recently appeared on the site will stick around if dinnertime at the owl house is always preceded by a macabre struggle to the death.

In other owl news, the remaining unhatched egg in the nest has been pronounced a dud by the webcam proprietor, Carlos. So apparently the hatching is done—and now the real, uh, fun begins.

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