Nightly News   |  August 07, 2010

What a hoot! ‘Owl-caholics’ flock to Webcam

The San Marcos, Calif., home of Carlos and Donna Royal is now center stage for a captivating Web reality show featuring a handful of unlikely stars. NBC’s Mara Schiavocampo reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally tonight, a pair of owls that have become stars of their own internet reality show . it is a worldwide sensation. and as our correspondent reports, web viewers really got an eye full today.

>> reporter: every night, high above carlos and donna royal's backyard, a drama is unfolding.

>> he will either come in from the east where we are looking out towards the mountains or come in from the north.

>> reporter: their california home has become center stage for a captivating web reality show .

>> it's comedy and it's real life and it's real nature.

>> reporter: the unlikely stars, a barn owl they named molly, and her mate mcgee, they moved in unexpectedly in january, two years after the royals first installed this owl box fitted with cameras.

>> we set right down. i mean we just like, wow. we got an owl. and we started watching it.

>> reporter: to share their owl-cam with family, the royals started streaming the video on the internet where their website quickly went from five family members to 15 million views as many as watched the finale of "lost."

>> this is nasa. this is mission control .

>> reporter: six remote cameras feed this control which transmitts to bird watchers , self described owlcoholics around the world.

>> we have to keep watching to make sure we don't miss anything.

>> reporter: the highlights of season one, watching as molly cares for her eggs. watching them hatch one by one. and like so many parents saying good-bye as the owlets grow and take their first steps towards independence. what is it so mesmerizing about them?

>> it is just she is a female, she is a mother, she is in raising her children.

>> reporter: the first group of owlets, flew the coop in june leaving molly and mcgee with an empty nest . but then a new plot twist. molly laid a second set of eggs which started hatching this weekend bringing new life off to the owl box and the show. is this going to be their final season?

>> if they come back next year which is most likely next spring, we will probably turn the cameras back on.

>> reporter: looking forward to an encore presentation of a family show taking drama to new heights.

>>> that's nbc "nightly news" for