Sunday, May 23, 2010

Successful branching and continuing to discredit 'scientists'

Thank GOD for all of you who continued to put the pressure on Carlos to put up a branching system. He did it all the while screaming about how it was just toys for owls, it was to appease "worry warts", it was akin to putting in pools and tennis courts...
And at every opportunity, making every effort in the world to discredit scientists, meaning me, I suppose, since I'm the only scientist who's been continuously advising people about this box and answering questions about barn owl behavior.

There was yet another Union Tribune article about Carlos and "his" owls and in it, Carlos made injurious and disingenuous statements about "owl scientists" and claimed to have "discovered" new things and "proven scientists wrong"...sigh. I've been asked to address this, so I will. But it's wearying, truly. For a scientist to continually have to address the lies spread by a total nonscientist is kind of a waste of time, except that this person has the ear of a huge number of people for whatever reason, goes. My reluctant addressing of these statements...

First, this whole thing makes me sad and discouraged for the owls themselves and for the scientists who've put their lives and hearts and souls and LOVE into understanding the owls and trying to help others understand these precious, precious beings. That it should descend so far into the murky depths of human psychological issues, hype, grandstanding, vaudeville, is wearying and just very, very sad.

So..Ok..about his claim that he has "proven the scientists wrong" about how "owls don't eat the entrails" my book, which he ought to try reading before he continues to claim that he alone has trumped all of the decades of owl scientists' work...I say that "the mouse, the whole mouse, and just the mouse" is needed. Now, I did NOT say that they can ONLY eat mice, but in context, I said that when people keep owls and try to feed them slices of meat rolled in calcium, the owls develop a terrible metabolic bone disease, or glass bone cripples them for life and is terribly painful, w/ bones constantly breaking.

So, in talking about how people w/ captive owls must feed them the WHOLE mouse, I discussed how the entrails are important to the owl because it contains all kinds of enzymes and the food the mice has eaten. But they do not prefer it. Wesley, who is not the only example - I've studied nearly 100 wild owl nests - but Wesley would carefully dissect out the entrails and fling the against the wall, on the floor, wherever, SOMETIMES!


He ALSO ate the mouse whole, a LOT of the time. I even included a picture of him eating a mouse whole. I'm not sure which versions have which pictures so please don't say "My book doesn't have it" if it doesn't. There are many versions:
The UK Version
Chinesee (Mandarin AND Cantonese)
German - Readers' Digest Condensed Book

As far as I know. There is also the large print edition and the auditory CDs, which I doubt have pictures.

I am amazed at the continual attempts to publicly discredit and misquote me or other scientists. No scientist anywhere said they do not eat entrails! Of COURSE THEY DO!

Ok, now what are the other new slanders against the good reputation of the Caltech owl scientists and other hard working field and lab scientists around the world who have been studying barn owls for well over 100 years?

Oh..that Branching is just a "made up word"....well, so is Ustream, Astronaut, Freeway, Astroturf, Mall, Suburb, how far back need we go?
Cannon, rifle, gun, gunpowder, pennicillin, Gorilla (not known to be a real animal until about 1910), hominid, Cat Scan, DNA, genome, microscope...

But that is an "old" accusation. Lemme check what the new ones are for a second here....AH YES!

That owls won't fly in the rain.

No scientist, including me, ever said that. It's a deliberate twisting of scientists saying that a completely waterlogged owl can't fly. COMPLETELY WATERLOGGED. And that owls are not waterproof IN THE WAY THAT OTHER BIRDS ARE. That does not mean that they are completely grounded if it rains, for pete's sake. or if it snows. Some water runs off the flight feathers.

In fact, didn't I say earlier that as long as they are not completely waterlogged underneath, that they are fine? When we were discussing how Molly would come in slightly wet, I said that she wasn't deeply wet. Just the tips of her feathers were wet but the deep part of her feathers were completely dry.

Well, I guess it's time for people to start writing letters to the editor of the San Diego Union Tribune, eh?

Can't have them misquoting scientists or lauding Carlos as being better than all scientists because of his one time observation of one set of barn owls w/ one clutch. Even then, he refused to understand or accept some of the most well known and documented facts about owls, such as BRANCHING.

In answer to other questions - NO THEY ARE NOT HIS OWLS! All owls belong to the US Government because they are a protected species. It matters NOT whose property they are on, nor how famous that person thinks he is because of aforementioned owls.

ALL OWLS Are The Property Of the U.S. Government - Regulated by the Dept of Fish and Wildlife federally, and the Dept of Fish and Game in California.

I think the flashing is excessive enough to possibly damage the retina of the baby owls. An occasional flash, maybe But not this continual barrage whenever one makes a move. And the point one commenter made about how it may get them used to flashing lights to the point where they may be more likely to fly into car lights, thinking they're harmless, is well made. We do not know how our messing w/ nature might affect it in the future, which is why it is against the law to harrass a nest of barn owls in any way. It's up to the officers of Fish and Game to decide how much flashing becomes harrassment. But they might decide it's too much.

Also, there are SO MANY AMAZING wildlife photographers who've taken much more compelling pictures IN THE WILD that I would be surprised if National Geographic were to choose an owlbox for an article, unless it was for a cautionary article against the way people are exploiting sensitive barn owls and how clumsy the average human is when they try to mess with wildlife about which they know very little. THAT, they might do.

I'm not angry, by the way. I'm saddened at how easily misinformation is gobbled up and printed by the media and by individual people. If someone is not an expert in their field, take what they say w/ a grain of salt!

If they're obviously desperate for attention and limelight to the point where their neediness is like a flashing sign, then take their word with another grain of salt. Use the uncommon, common sense.

Might I also point out that if one is sooo weary of this full time 24/7 "job", why spend time at a ustream convention? Why continue to exhaust oneself? It makes a cute ending to a news story to say one can't wait for this to be over, but I've been to a lot of these online webcam things, and this is the ONLY one where the owner of the webcam keeps putting himself in front of the camera and going on and on about himself and his life and how he got recognized at the Mexican restaurant. The others just keep the cam on the birds and that's it.

What I'm saying is, it does not HAVE to be a 24 hour job. If one truly doesn't want it to be, then one needn't do it!

ANYWAY, it's a sad world we live in when someone has to discredit EVERYONE ELSE to feel like they have any kind of place in this world. Most of the people I know who are true experts do not spend their time trying to discredit each other. They cooperate with each other, share data, have dinner w/ each other, that sort of thing.

Imagine if I came on here and said, "Don't read Farley Mowat's book! Don't read Sy Montgomery! Don't read Marc Bekoff! Don't read Jane Goodall! And for God's sake, don't even think about reading Berndt Heinrich! Ignore the wonderful new book out by Jeff Guidry - An Eagle Named Freedom! It's waaay too inspiring! Fugetaboutit! ONLY READ MY BOOK! OVEr and over and over. NO OTHER BOOKS ALLOWED!"

HAHAH! Now I'll be quoted as having said that. Sigh.

But seriously, those are great authors and I will RECOMMEND THEM TO YOU rather than try to diss them or put them down or be threatened by them! It's aLL GOOD! Read them ALL! They're my favorite authors too! Good for them! They've worked their entire lives on what they're writing about - not a couple of months!

Anyway, It's time for someone to start writing letters to the editor at San Diego Union Tribune.

I probably won't. If it gets too out of hand I may ask them to retract some of their statements and put in an error correction saying that these are not true statements. But I'm too busy doing other stuff that I think is more important, like the Barn Owl Alliance - trying to educate and bring change to the way owlboxes are installed and built in this country. The English have been through all this and their laws reflect it. We need to learn from them about how to properly care for our precious wild ones with whom we share this earth.


ps: i just got up but I feel tired already and need a nap. This is all just very sad to me.


Lynn said...

I wonder if Carlos ever bothered to google "branching owls" like I just did? Lots of websites with articles about branching-- to name a few. Stacey, don't let the Carlos crew get you down. When the owlets finally leave and go out on their own, the chatters will fade away. The newspaper articles will be forgotten. Those who have spent time studying and trying to research and learn, however, will be the ones who go on to help and protect barn owls.

Heather said...

Stacey, I agree with you on the absurdity of someone who has observed one group of barn owls in an artificial setting, believing that they are now an "owl expert". I see this not only with Carlos, but with the MODs also. They answer questions posed by others as though they truly are experts, even though their answers are frequently incorrect or misleading. If Carlos really cared about the owls and not just about his fifteen minutes of fame, he'd have used you or another biologist who has studied barn owls as the "resident expert", but his ego is just too big for that.

The way you've been treated is unfair and cruel. I'm so glad you have this forum to correct the bad information, to stick up for yourself, and to advocate for the owls. Science in general is getting a lot of bad press lately (I think it's the evolution vs. creationism issue) and I just want to say to anyone who is "anti-science", if you don't think that scientists know what they're talking about then stop getting vaccinations, stop driving your car, stop reading food labels, stop watching the space shuttle take off. It was science that brought us most of what we now take for granted, that has virtually eliminated many of the childhood illnesses that our ancestors lived with, that has taken us to the moon. It's just ridiculous that someone who has devoted their life to studying something should in any way be discredited by a group of wannabe owl experts observing ONE nest in a totally unnatural setting.

My biggest fear through all of this is of the many people watching who have stated "I'm gonna put up an owl box" because these folks won't have the whole world watching.

Thank you to Stacey and the others working to insure that these beautiful creatures are treated with the respect they deserve and not like a carnival sideshow.

Heather said...
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Heather said...

Oops, wanted to add a quote from Stephen Hawking - "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge".

Stacey O'Brien said...

Thank you, all of you, for your support! You're right - I should not get discouraged. A lot of scientists I talk to refuse to get involved outside of their ivory tower, but to me, it's outside of the ivory tower that ultimately makes the most difference. And there ARE so many reasonable, thinking people.

One of my mottos when I was writing the book was, "Trust the reader", meaning I didn't need to preach, expand on what I was saying, repeat myself, repeat myself (haha). People get it. If they don't, well, they'll hopefully enjoy the read.

So, enough people get it for 'it' to be worth trying to bring "it" up for discussion.

Well, Onward!

Susan said...

Stacey, this has truly been an eye-opening post for me. In the past, although I've STRONGLY disagreed with Mr. Royal's use of the Owl Box as entertainment and especially over his treatment of you and others who have raised concerns, I felt that because it was his "show", he could ultimately do what he wanted with it. But you are absolutely correct, he has the attention of millions and is giving such incorrect information. It is not right.

Despite my feelings about the situation, I had been planning on ordering the Molly e-book. But I have now decided against it, because I want my money to go towards something that will make a positive difference instead.

As other commenters have said, don't let this get you down too much. I'm really glad you have this blog where you have the opportunity to defend yourself and your fellow scientists and educate those who are willing. Please know that you ARE being heard by those of us with open minds and a desire to learn!

Susan from MI

mspeg said...

One person mentioned Carlos' "15 minutes of fame" and that really is how I see him. His ego has driven this far beyond what one expects of a web cam. I've watched many and have never seen the 'host' either. He wants to be a TV 'star' or something. I am somewhat worried as I am watching other sites which are mercifully free of the inane chat that goes on in the Molly box. I try not to read the chat but sometimes the eye goes there on its own - and I read that the chatters are planning to "take over" another box so that they will have a place to congregate. I've read about their surgeries, marital woes, sick kids and spouses - ad nauseam - I really hope they do not spoil another site. The moderators have certainly done their part to stroke Royal's ego as well as their own and have formed such a clique that newcomers often state that they are leaving since nobody is talking to them. That's very sad.

Stacey - I think you should correct the info that the paper reported. Hopefully they will be more willing to accept factual information.

I will send an email to the paper and hope that someone there wakes up and researches the information that they report.

Thanks for hanging in there with this and giving your precious energy to the owl's cause.

Magicsmom said...

Stacey, if the San Diego Tribune continues to print articles about Carlos, I absolutely think a letter writing campaign is in order. There is much to learn about this man who holds himself up as an example of selfless service to people and owls. His conduct in banning anyone who dares to disagree with him, or dares to even question him in any way is a testament to his guilty conscience. San Diego Tribune, wake up! Do some investigative journalism. You remember journalism, don't you?

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Magicsmom said...

Gina, you obviously do NOT know Carlos. All you know is the facade he has put forth. Carlos knows exactly what he did to Stacey. I only hope and pray that someday the truth will be revealed.

chipmonk said...

Gina,the wonderful thing about blogs,and posts,is our freedom of speech.That being said you are free to speak you opion,and have it heard.But may i just suggest first you get your facts straight!!.You must be a Carlos groupie,and thats fine,whatever.You know nothing about Stacey O' Brien,you said that.Try learning about who she is,then write your comments.Magicsmom is right,you know nothing about what went on in the whole Carlos thing,why? because he banned anyone who spoke there mind,and it can't be talked about to this day!.Get it right Gina,before you write a comment.

Jan said...

Bravo Gina! You said so much of what I wanted to say. I had my own long response to post (and still may). Let me ask this, does anyone KNOW Carlos personally? I think so much of the drama has come from assuming so many things. I have been watching for a long time and for more hours of the day than I care to admit. He has said NONE of the things the he's being accused of. He's just a big-hearted man who is as thrilled to share this with us as we are to watch.

Magicsmom said...

I do not know Carlos personally, but I do know what he did to Stacey. Nice people don't act the way he has. Just sayin...........

chipmonk said...

Stacey,as a member of your alliance (Maureen),please don't let these people get to you.It makes me very sad to see all of this said about you,but we know the truth,and that always wins out.So for all the sadness,it only makes us want to roll up our sleeves and work that much harder for your cause,and now ours.Stay well,we need you my friend.

chipmonk said...

Jan,I will make this very short,No Carlos doesn't say theses things....He LETS his MODS do it for him.They are told what to do,what to say through him!!.Again like Magicsmom said the truth will come out someday,stay tunned.

Anonymous said...

I've also been troubled about what I've heard in Carlos' commentary. Although I'm grateful for the wonderful opportunity to observe these owls, I often find myself chagrined by Carlos' unsupported and unscientific statements. For example that the Molly and McGee were witholding food to lure the owlets to branch or that McGee has been 'controlling' everything that happens in the owlbox. It's fine to speculate, but I find it unsettling that he holds his assertions as true even in the face of contradictory evidence. And I have been too afraid to challenge these statements too directly in the chatroom. Which I suppose makes me a coward. Thank you for all you are doing, Stacey!

pcterhune said...

Love this statement of yours...."seeing that Wesley was kept in captivity looks wrong. I may need to read why you kept him his whole life."

What a great idea, Gina! Reading before coming to a conclusion. But then I guess you already know it's a good idea. After all, you're "a person of strong logic."

Victoria B said...

Whoa: Gina, you do not know what has been going on from the beginning of watching Molly and family. I am a very open person, always giving someone the benefit of the doubt. When they do something offensive, I try to understand what would cause that behavior.

Carlos is very warm and loving, I agree. He loves his family, works hard at everything he does, and likes to enjoy life and share. There is also a part of Carlos that I do not understand. I have seen him ignore for weeks the advice of many, not just Stacey, as to how he should provide something for the owls to branch on. The moderators began censoring the chat room, and anyone who suggested that something needed to be changed, were looked upon as trouble makers and worry warts. Many have been banned from even mentioning Stacey's name, or their chat was deleted and they were put in time out.

I couldn't understand why facts were squelched and labeled as being negative. This was being touted as an educational place to learn about barn owls. Yet facts were being misconstrued and Carlos poked fun at the scientists.

I was upset by his behavior and realized that Carlos was controlling what could be said in the chat room. I later found out he had contacted Stacey and told her he didn't want her book discussed in his chat room. Thereafter, the enthusiasm some of us felt with having a knowledgeable person amongst us in chat was deliberately squelched. We were labeled as, 'Stacey worshipers',and the mods forbade any mention of Stacey.

I continued to answer questions of chatters that were ignored, or interjected statements about the need for a branching system in a "gentle manner." Meaning, I would make a few statements about the benefit and then move on to another topic. I'm sure I was being watched.

This is Stacey's blog, and if you don't like it you don't have to read it. Carlos has been deliberately dissing her in public, and if you'd been hanging around like a lot of us you would know that. He doesn't have to say her name for us to know who he means.

So in summary, Carlos has a side to him you don't know about yet. I have seen it and been baffled by it. I like Carlos because of his loving, fun personality. I also wonder why he's so resistant to bringing biologists and scientists onboard. He stresses the owl box as being family friendly and a learning source for schools and children.

msg said...

A couple of facts that I believe have not been publicly disclosed should be now. (Stacey, if you want to delete this post I understand. ;) )

Fact 1: Carlos reached out to Stacey early on after being contacted by a mutual friend. Carlos asked for Stacey to call him and provided his phone number in order for her to do so.

Why? Because a follower of the M&M feed noticed how many people were talking about Stacey's book, the coincidence that one of the owlets was named Wesley, and many other followers at the time were genuinely enthused at the prospect of her popping into the chat to provide her considerable, empirically qualified insight to those interested.

At the time of initial contact between the mutual friend and Carlos, Carlos proclaimed that his M&M feed would result in selling a lot of Stacey's book.

Fact 2: When Stacy contacted Carlos he submitted that the priority with regards to her participation in the chat was to somehow get a percentage of any of Stacey's book sales resulting from her participation -- a reasonable and not entirely unenviable attitude from an entrepreneur-type presented with an opportunity to monetize a gift horse prospect.

Stacey presented Carlos a means for which he could implement a click-thru program on his site with which he'd get a commission on sales of WESLEY, THE OWL on Amazon (very common affiliate program ubiquitous on the web) and Carlos declined. Wasn't enough money. He wanted more.

Stacey then opted to simply pop into chat, not plugging her book, offer perspective and answer questions.

She was ultimately banned for being a passionate voice of reason, ruining ill-informed participant's willfully ignorant "happy place" perspective, and questioning Carlos' initially inept owl box setup.

These are facts. They are not disputable. For folks like "Gina," willfully ignorant and woefully uninformed, it is glaringly apparent that the welfare of the owls is second run to the personal thrills derived from being a disconnected pleasure palace spectator.

Anonymous said...

You are all cordially invited to view the Hungry Owl Project's owl box at the Nicasio School in Marin County, also on UStream. We do actually get a few owl experts there to answer questions, and the stream is calm and generally drama-free.

Virginia said...

Well, well, well. I have been touched by the comments from Lynn, Heather, Susan, mspeg, magicmom, chipmonk and above all Stacey. You all are the ones who absolutely "get it."
As for Gina, my heart is saddened. A little research goes a long way.
I personally hope, that if there are more, "like-minded people" out there like Gina, please read up on Stacey O'Brian; especially her credentials. Then decide, who is the "EXPERT" here!

Anonymous said...

But one additional comment, if I may.

Stacey, your work has not been in vain. Through Carlos, I found your work. I am working on a project to install one or more owl boxes in a local wilderness park, and through your inspiration and that of others like HOP, I hope to do this right the FIRST time. I too fear the "101 Dalmations" syndrome, with people irresponsibly erecting boxes without concern for sighting, proximity to trees and shade, box design, etc. But YOUR WORK is leading some of us in the right direction. Please don't be discouraged. We are out here, and we are listening.

Magicsmom said...

Thanks, Virginia. It's hard to believe how many people are out there who have fallen for Carlos' "nice guy" routine. Stacey knows the real Carlos, and it is not a pretty picture. Simon and Schuster can verify what he tried to do, so it's not just a he said/she said. There was a third party involved.

PaulaP said...

I have been saddened by the turn of events over time. When the stream first started, I was absolutely thrilled that I could see a barn owl in full color with good equipment. Early on there were not many people there and there were a lot of questions--people were hungry for information. I am not an expert but have watched many BNOw streams and researched as best I could before answering anything. I have a science background and know the importance of observation and giving the correct information. Then the mods came in and I noticed that the information that I have heard or read was not the information being disseminated. There was more and more assertions that did not seem to be based in the science that has been done before. Then the ads came, the censoring of any information that did not support the fantasy world that was being created and the bannings. At that point it became cliquey and almost cult-like. There was no listening to reason. I pulled away for my own peace of mind.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read posts buy a person I knew was experienced, Stacey, and am sadly disappointed that the whole thing did not end up being the great educational opportunity it could have been if scientists were respected for their research. I remember myself being chastised by a couple of the faithful when I suggested that having a low, unprotected opening might be detrimental. And this was before the whole issue of branching came about. I spoke blasphemy, I guess.

I am hopeful that the Alliance will be able to work toward safety in owl boxes and to further the information about this wonderful bird. In the meantime, there are many streams out there that do not have chats or have scientific chats.

Stacey, keep the faith and resist letting this bring you down. Keep up the work to your ability and know that there are others who are willing to help the quest to protect the owls.

Eagle Eye said...

Stacey you are such an inspiration and have managed to keep the high road through this. We know it was you and many like us that are responsible for the owls having a branching system to fledge on since we were all there when you suggested it and talked about it.

We also know the damage he is doing to these babies eyes by constantly flashing at them and I have to sadly agree that he is conditioning them to think that there is no danger from these flashes when in fact it is head lights, flood lights, etc. and will lead to death. It is also sad that he is conditioning the parents also to the bright lights so that they will not fear the road and look at the lights as an attraction instead of a distraction. That is so sad.

I have a lot of other things to say regarding the constant lies and misinformation being spread about that I have decided to email you with since this is an open forum and I see that the Kook aid drinkers are coming this way to herald their leader so I won't give them any ammunition.

Peace and Blessing to you for all you do in the "Wild" world and the effort you take in helping humans understand the world from an owls perspective. No one knows better an owl unless they have lived with one and that is what makes us an expert by experiencing the world with them. People who say that it was wrong to keep Wesley alive, share in his world while learning and researching have no place on this planet, they are narrow minded and have no value or worth to the world.

Stacey O'Brien said...

Thank you for your support. I will answer to one question Gina had, which was what happened to one of the comments that was apparently deleted. I have not deleted any comments. When you do a comment, you are allowed to delete your OWN comment. Whoever deleted it, deleted their own comment. This is my blog, but I am not in the business of censoring my readers.

We will continue to try to educate the public on how to design and install owlboxes. And we will work with Fish and Game officials to make a branching system, a raised door, a perch by the door, shade, and a way to climb back up if an owlet falls MANDATORY like they do in England.

England has been through this already and has done well to address these issues.

I never intended to be contraversial! I did, however, begin to realize that if these beloved owlets were not provided w/ a branching system, they would die or be injured in falls. The raptor rehab centers are flooded w/ these injured babies every year.

So I began to talk about branching on my blog. At the same time, Carlos started mocking the whole concept of branching, saying it was a made up word, etc. A lot of these statements were made during his morning videos of himself talking, often even to classrooms full of children!

Anyway, I was trying to prevent a terrible outcome for all the watchers, the owls (remember them?), and for Carlos himself, in spite of any jealousy he may have over my book.

As I've stated, authors support each others' books in the real publishing world. All the time. Just read the blurbs on the back of people's books - the praise is from other authors in the same genre!

This time, since it's the Union Tribune, where my book was named book of the week last year, I decided to speak up. Most people in San Diego know which scientist has been on that owl box answering questions, it's no mystery.

But we will go on and do the work that needs to be done and move forward.

There is nothing wrong, however, with correcting wrong statements made about owl scientists in general or specifically.

Thank all of you for writing! It helps me know what you're thinking and how you're feeling.

MSG knows what he knows because he knows the friend through whom I was contacted. Not from gossip from me or any hearsay. He was there during the transactions that occurred.

The bigger issue is the lives of barn owls and the continual endangerment of these precious, precious beings. Thank you for caring about THEM and being willing to stand up for THEM when they have no voice!

Stacey O'Brien said...
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Heather said...

Gina, just for the record, the post that was removed was mine and I removed it myself as the "author". I removed it because I realized after I posted that it had an omission in it and I wanted it to be correct. Why would you jump to the conclusion that Stacey removed it? Also,Stacey never spoke badly of Carlos, she spoke for the owls as they can't speak for themselves. She was fun, enthusiastic, informative and non-judgmental. If you read back in her blog, you'll see that she gave Carlos the benefit of the doubt repeatedly. She offered her expert advice and was mocked for it, as were those who agreed with her. Who do you really believe might know more about what baby owls need, someone who has studied them in the wild for 20 years or some guy who put a box up in his yard, lured some owls in and then made money off of them? I think somehow you've lost the point. These are wild animals, owned and protected by the United States, so it is everyone's business whether they are safe. They are not here for your entertainment. It's nice that everyone has had fun in the chat, but raptor rehab centers are very busy this time of year with baby owls that have fallen from poorly designed owl boxes and if Carlos hadn't finally given in to the pressure from people who actually knew what they were talking about, we might very well have seen a similar disaster before our very eyes. How much fun would that have been? It makes me angry that the assumption in the chat is that because there were no incidents with this nest that the experts are wrong. That's absurd. Don't believe everything you hear, just because the people saying it seem "nice".

Janet said...

Gina >> Wesley lived in captivity because he was found injured and would never of been able to live in the wild is how Stacey a student at Caltech got him. As far s the resentment with Carlos that some people have, you obviously were not on the USTREAM chat when things came to a head. We all were. Stacey would come in the room and everyone I mean almost everyone was so excited and just bombarded her with questions and were so joyous. She came in his room many many times. Stacey was very admired in Carlos room! She gave so much information to everyone and she was so helpful. Then she was banned, I was in the room that night as well. She did not say anything she never did. Many many people were quite upset of the banning and some were banned for asking why this happened. Obviously you did not see this whole process! So please calm down Miss Gina. No matter what has happened the end result is that many many people have been more educated now! A shame that Stacey was banned and could not be of even more help!

darien said...

Hey Stacey...I read every word of yours, usually more than once. I have learned SO much from you, and I applaud what you are trying to do. I'd get you to autograph my book if I could. Please don't give up.

I hit mute when he comes one. I swear at the endless full-screen commercials (like the banner ads aren't enough). I appreciate what he has done and that we get to see this unusual world, and I want an owl box of my own (but we don't have barn owls here). I just don't like him, anymore. He reminds me of my ex-husband, also a salesman. Short on truth, big on what he thinks people wanted to hear.

Gina--read a book, for pete's sake.

ruthrings said...

MSG says that it is an "indisputable fact" that Stacey was banned for being a "passionate voice of reason." She was anything but reasonable the night she was banned. She was rude and disruptive, threatening legal action through her agent because of her perceptions of Carlos' comments. Carlos has every right to set the tone for that chat room, just as Stacey does for this one. Polite disagreements are not censored. People who come in for the purpose of creating trouble are not welcome. Re censorship, my comment from that time was deleted here by someone other than me. hmmmmm.I wonder if this will stay.

Virginia said...

I'm back. Read all the latest comments. Kudo's to all.
I checked out the owls over at you know who, and even signed in so as to chat. I too, was warned to shut up or be banned. I had said,"enough with the flashes, it hurts their retina's." That started a barrage of fire power. After I got bomb-barded, I politely said, "beam me up Scotty, there's no intellegent life here" and left.
At least I stirred up a hornets nest and maybe got a few pieces of brain matter to do a little research and find out that I was right on the flash subject. Education is a wonderful thing, too bad there are so many drop-outs over there. They really need to go back to school and get their diploma.

Belinda Rachman, Esq. said...

There are people who want to be the stars and people who do the work involved to make a difference. Anyone who calls people with reasonable concerns, "worry warts" and sets the tone for a Pollyanna world where nothing bad happens and then repeats over and over that if anything bad DOES happen he won't do anything and let "nature take its course" NEEDS to be stopped. I am the one who started the whole "feds will come and rescue fallen birds because they have jurisdiction" conversation. You would have thought I was a traitor to their beloved and unchallenged leader instead of someone who loves the owls instead of unquestioningly following the man. He was having NONE of the branching stuff going on in HIS yard. Thank God he gave into the pressure from those who DID speak up (before being banned). The thought police who kick people off TOLD me via private message, the night Stacey was banned that CARLOS told them to. I thought some zealot did it on their own but no it was CARLOS himself. Stacey has never been rude on the chat. I would like to see the text of what was said that night because I never saw her be anything but professional. But she wouldn't sit by quietly and watch the guy who bought a death trap owl box do nothing to protect them when they were learning to fly. Anyone who watches now can SEE they need all these gymnastic bars to jump around on while learning to fly. Stacey was right, CR was wrong. End of story. The uneducated always think they know more than the experts. We had one for president for 8 years and look what happened to our country.

Gina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bodhi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stacey O'Brien said...

I took off the Chinese post because it was very, very obscene. Some of my Chinese readers do comment so they are often quite sincere, when they are posted. However, I've been getting some spam from China as well, so I always check the content. I was not censoring someone w/ an opinion different from mine, unless you consider advertising prostitution and gross practices as being unfair. ;-)

SueDonym said...

People are attracted to conflict like moths to a flame or people driving by a train wreck. Does anyone else see that the only posts that get many replies here are the ones in which Carlos is being criticized? It's just not tantalizing enough when Stacey is talking about practical things that can be done... complaining and flaming are SO MUCH more fun!

So much is taken out of context here, spun, and twisted that it's not funny. But what IS funny is Stacey complaining about being taken out of context in one post when she turns around and does the same thing in another.

Stop intentionally trying to sow conflict and try just allowing people to enjoy the beauty of the experience. I really enjoyed reading your insights until you started literally ranting and raving and being completely disruptive.

Frankly I am shocked that you are a scientist because I have never known a scientist who would let their emotions get so out of control in such a public way.

Janet said...

I really like Carlos room and Carlos alot. A shame the way people have been hurt from statements and bannings. But he has offered so much and so many have become educated now. You know really the hard feelings come from many people that were banned not bc of Rudeness but for speaking out with pertinant Questions. There has been alot banned and these are decent people. A shame really.

djohn36755 said...

The one night I was in the chat with drama going on was the first night Molly left & stayed out of the box until the following evening. All sorts of *horrible* scenarios were painted by posters - all attributed to things Carlos had done or had NOT done.... Carlos calmly said "wait and see" and sure enough, Molly came back. Then there was the drama when "poor baby Wesley was starving" because of something else Carlos had done - upsetting Molly/McGee so they had left the box and now he was not getting any food. This went on for days... He's lying down - he's gasping for air.....he is too weak to stand up... on and on and on. Now he is on the point of his first night out of the box (maybe tonight?)

I am not sure if the people posting these things were associated with Stacey or not. BUT in hindsight - it seems the scare tactics were unfounded and the owls seem to be fine. Now - ANOTHER drama - "flashing lights" - damaged retinas - flying into car headlights...I trust and hope these will be filed away with the other "concerns" and never come to pass.
If you don't like owl merchandise - Don't Buy IT!!! Why does this upset people so much? Do you think the owls have any concept of this? Everyone has a right to their own opinion. I do appreciate Stacey allowing others to voice opinions that are not in agreement with her 100%.
Its sad that something so sweet could escalate to this point.

Susan said...

In response to djohn36755's comment, why is showing concern considered trouble-making or "scare tactics"? Why can't people get worried and upset? Why is that a bannable offense? Personally I've remained pretty level-headed during this experience but even I was worrying about Wesley a couple of weeks ago. People should be allowed to express themselves, even if it's in a temporarily emotional moment, without getting mocked...yes, I've witnessed worried chatters literally mocked there. It is completely obnoxious. Heck, I'll be the first one to laugh at myself when this is over and we realize that most of the concerns were unfounded (the need for perches notwithstanding). But until then, it isn't right to shut down those who feel they have valid concerns. Even if they bring them up repeatedly, which is sometimes necessary due to the volume of chatting taking place.

It's true that things have ultimately gone pretty smoothly in this event, but how would people feel if something preventable was ignored and there was a tragic outcome? It is far better, in my opinion, to raise questions and concerns than to stick your head in the sand and leave it to "too little, too late".

And I respectfully disagree with Ruthrings' statement that polite disagreement is not censored.

Susan from MI

Constance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jan said...

Messed that one up.

That last post (Constance) was from me (Jan). I was logged into a work account.

Jan said...

What I said in my self-deleted post was that someone badgered me because my name was the same as someone else's? Really?!

See how things can get so twisted?

I have never been to sportsmans paradise. I watch the owls and read chat. I don't chat.

Unbelievable how FAST people can jump off the deep end. I never want to belong to a group with members that treat complete strangers in such a manner.

Magicsmom said...

ruthrings said...
MSG says that it is an "indisputable fact" that Stacey was banned for being a "passionate voice of reason." She was anything but reasonable the night she was banned. She was rude and disruptive, threatening legal action through her agent because of her perceptions of Carlos' comments. Carlos has every right to set the tone for that chat room, just as Stacey does for this one. Polite disagreements are not censored. People who come in for the purpose of creating trouble are not welcome. Re censorship, my comment from that time was deleted here by someone other than me. hmmmmm.I wonder if this will stay.

msg is relating the facts of a situation that msg was personally involved in. It's not hearsay. Simon and Schuster know the details of what he tried to do. They are the ones who put the brakes on any kind of business agreement for Carlos to take piece of the action from Stacey's book sales.

You think censorship of reasonable people doesn't go on over there? Take off your rose colored glasses. I was banned for supposedly "disrupting chat" when I hadn't even posted in either main OR overflow for well over a week. I wasn't even online when they zapped me. I never had a disagreement with anyone, and never received any warnings from moderators. Wanna know what I think? I was banned over THERE for things I have posted HERE. Don't tell me that they are fair-handed at the Owl Box because I know better!

Heather said...

SueDonym, I don't think that a certain personality type is a prerequisite for becoming a scientist. I have two friends who are biologists; one is quiet and methodical, the other much more dramatic. They both know their chosen field well and are effective in the work they do. Stacey is passionate about barn owls. She goes beyond those sitting behind their computer screens, declaring how adorable the owlets are and how much they love them, and sticks up for them, even when it's unpopular. I don't think it's fair for you to decide what her reaction should be to being publicly mocked - scientists are human too!

As for the chat rooms, there are no absolutes here. Some people have been controlling and judgmental, some have been kind and helpful. I don't think that most of us who believe that Stacey could have been an inspiration and an important source of information, think that we're opposing everyone in the chat rooms. There is a small group who seemingly took it upon themselves to censor what was said there, who felt it was their right to label people just because they had a different point of view. (I noticed that they've altered the "worry warts" label and now refer to "warts" - nice.) But there also were folks who DID fly into panic mode with little provocation and there were trolls who posted things simply to cause chaos. We need to remember that all of us are different and carry our own personal baggage and to just try to be kind. A lot of us who were denied the chance to say how we really felt about the owl box have found that forum here, so please know that after a certain amount of venting, many will get down to the task of getting regulation passed so that barn owls are given every fighting chance to continue to delight us.

Magicsmom said...

(I noticed that they've altered the "worry warts" label and now refer to "warts" - nice.)

Are you freaking kidding me? That is unreal! A probably little known fact over there is that the worry wart icon Dotrot claimed to have "created" was actually stolen from Google Images. All she did was change the coloring on it. I'd rather be a "wart" than a "thief". Many things over there aren't what they seem.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for addressing my concerns about that article, Stacey. Mr. Royal needs to get his facts straight about scientific fact before misleading the public like he is. (Especially the youngsters watching.)

The censorship over there is astonishing. They prefer to let the viewers think "Dudley" is still there somewhere in the mess on the floor. I saw Wesley eating that egg myself. So did others but if anyone tries to say that in chat they get shushed immediately. It's silly to the point of being absurd!

Bodhi said...

Jan! Come back! I said "IF" you are that Jan, blah,blah,blah. I was just DONE with their nonsense, and I am not proud of myself for posting any of it..except what Carlos said about being glad he'd put up the perches, I thought was way interesting.

If someone can tell me how to delete those posts of mine, I'd really like to do that. I want out of this level of conflict. It's back to meditating for me!

Magicsmom said...

Bohdi, under the date on your post is a little icon that looks vaguely like a trash can. Click on that to delete your post.

Jan said...


All is forgiven. But it is a perfect example of how things can so easily get out of hand.

It is soo so very easy for someone to latch onto a small portion of a statement and bring up a completely different set of "realities" that might not necessarily be the whole truth.

I don't know what has gone on. I am just dismayed at the angst and really wish it would stop.

I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the owl box, O&O and Buddy and Fluffy. They are a window on something that I would not be able to see otherwise.

I was thrilled to find the live feeds because I recall hearing a strange noise in my yard one day - very possibly a barn owl or a screech owl - don't completely remember what it looked like - except being surprised that it was so small for what I thought an owl looked like and the call was something so different than the "who" that most people expect from owls.

When I found the owl box, it was thrilling for me to be able to follow this family from hatching eggs to fledglings. I am watching and learning. Know better than to take much of anything on the internet as gospel truth. Just want to enjoy the moment.

I have learned so much in the process.

Jude said...

Stacy, Thank-you so much for your dedication, and we need you present to do exactly as you do: clarify the information from a scholarly viewpoint. I happened upon the owls and though always interested in them and have contributed to wildlife rehab etc, now I am learning from this experience, but have so many questions. As a dog trainer, I know too well how canine behavior gets woefully misinterpreted. Your expertise and authority needs to see this whole owl reality show through to the end. It could either benefit them tremendously, or sadly interfere with their role in nature. Keep up the great work. A young family of owls needs your advocacy. thanks, Jude

Bodhi said...

MAGICSMOM, thanks for that, but I don't see a little trashcan under the date! What step am I missing? I'm not very techy.

STACEY, if I can't figure it out can you delete my first two posts? I give permission.

uuchild said...

I've been following The Owl Box site because it gives me joy to see these beautiful creatures while sitting at my boring desk. Never joined in the conversation, never heard Carlos or saw Carlos. Just enjoyed seeing Life. I will admit, I was a bit concerned about the camera flashes that were going off when the owlets steeped out of the box. I am certainly not an expert in owls (or any other wildlife for that matter) but it seems to me that those flashes should not be there. It seems to me that when wildlife photographers capture nature with their lens they are very careful to not disturb that wildlife. The flashes were intrusive and disruptive for me. I wonder how much more so for the owls.

I have enjoyed my time watching the lives of this owl family. And I extend my gratitude to those who have brought me this joy. I am content to just know that Life is there. Getting to see it is a gift. I don't need to capture it. My heart can take of that.

renard said...

Hi, Stacey… I didn't know if you'd heard, but I wanted to let you know that Molly's Wesley came out of the box just after 5AM today, 5/25. I didn't get to see it live, but I did see the video clips. He came out and sat on the perch for several minutes then went back in. He's a smart owlet. That early in the morning there aren't any flashes from the camera. Wesley has been hesitant for a few days about leaving the box. And I have noticed that when he would lean out the door seriously considering stepping out, many times he would look to his right, the direction the flashes come from, and then back up into the box again. He has done this quite a few times over the past few days, including the early part of last night. To me, this meant that something from that direction was bothering him.

Molly and McGee didn't seem to me to be bothered much by the flashes, but maybe they were. There are a lot more pictures being taken of the young ones than there have been of the adults. I can certainly see how this can affect their coming out of the box, and how it could cause damage to their eyes. I love the pictures posted on the Owl Box blog, but I certainly don't want them at the cost of the owls' health!

Apparently Molly has started teaching her little ones to hunt. Now THAT is something I would love to see -- just how she goes about it. And if McGee teaches them, too. Don't get me wrong. I have no desire to see "things killing other things". But watching the parents communicate to the young ones what needs to be done, and then teach them the skills involved must be fascinating. Thank God there aren't any flashes in the field!!

Your blog is great!

Magicsmom said...

Bodhi, I see the trash can thing only if I'm logged in, and only on my own posts.

Stacey O'Brien said...

Hi Bhodi,
I deleted the comments for you, but I thought it was important to keep at least this part. Might I also add that much of what Carlos has said has been via the audio updates or the talks w/ schoolchildren.

I'd also like to point out that by defending mysellf and other scientists who have been mocked in a major city newspaper (San Diego is the 6th largest city in America), I am not being overly emotional nor unscientific. If the definition of a scientist is to sit by while they are being slandered in a major newspaper - their work mocked as having lead to completely false conclusions, or their work being completely misrepresented, it's important to correct that, if only for the sake of the truth.

I always bear in mind that when you tell schoolchildren that scientists are wrong about such simple, easily observable things, you are teaching the children a disrespect for the sciences and even possibly discouraging them from becoming interested in being scientists - if scientists are THAT inept, why aspire to becoming one?

Anyway, I deleted Bhodi's posts at his/her request, but here is the part I kept:

Yesterday in an audio update from Carlos he said that he was GLAD that he'd put up all the perches,platforms,etc.!!! I only read a summary from someone in the Sportsman's chat so don't have the full content, but that alone is huge, not to mention startling.

I genuinely hope that this is true!

I also noticed that Gina deleted ALL her posts. I did NOT do that, so if she ever tries to claim that she was censored over here, don't believe it!

That's all!

Let's keep our eye on the prize and continue our quest to help owlets all over America by changing the way owl boxes are set up and implemented, and by changing the regulations.

That is the real job that has come out of all of this - we've learned that this needs to be done - MUST be done - for the sake of the owlets. And we've learned that public education is not enough because there are people who are too egotistical to take advice unless the entire world (seemingly) is watching and pressuring them. That's when you turn to changing the laws...


Bodhi said...

Stacey, thanks for deleting those.

Also, it is a fact that he said that. Don't you find it startling that, rather than just privately thinking it, he said it out loud to a large audience?

Agree that inaccuracies need to be cooly, calmly corrected.

Think Gina said in a later post that she was going to delete.

Now, here's to a better future for these amazing owls with the HEART shaped faces.

Julie said...

I'm surprised that this group seems so bitter. Of course things will quiet down once the owlettes are gone. So what? At least people who ordinarily would not see a family of Barn Owls from conception to flight now have had the opportunity -- a truly amazing adventure. And I doubt that the Royals ever intended to put the Barn Owls in danger’s way. The pair chose the owl box at the Royals' residence – not the other way around. And whether or not everything Carlos said is/was dead on accurate (i.e., do owls fly in the rain; do they eat entrails) isn’t the issue; nor will it change the Barn Owls’ existence. The reaction on this blog to what the Royals provided to people seems unnecessarily hostile.

Jenny said...

Thank you Stacey! You have taught me so much. I have been watching Molly's family since she had her eggs and have become very fond of owls. Then I read your book and have been reading your blog. You are so right! I really appreciate your dedication and your hard work in doing the right thing, and being an advocate for these wonderful creatures. Thank you!!!

Magicsmom said...

Julie said...

I'm surprised that this group seems so bitter. Of course things will quiet down once the owlettes are gone. So what? At least people who ordinarily would not see a family of Barn Owls from conception to flight now have had the opportunity -- a truly amazing adventure. And I doubt that the Royals ever intended to put the Barn Owls in danger’s way. The pair chose the owl box at the Royals' residence – not the other way around. And whether or not everything Carlos said is/was dead on accurate (i.e., do owls fly in the rain; do they eat entrails) isn’t the issue; nor will it change the Barn Owls’ existence. The reaction on this blog to what the Royals provided to people seems unnecessarily hostile.

Julie, I do not disagree with you that many people are hostile to Carlos. But you need to be honest with yourself about the genesis of that hostility. It BEGAN with the Royals. They CREATED hostility at their site, and people are speaking their minds about it because they can. In mocking and ridiculing anyone with an opinion different from his, Carlos showed his need to be right all the time. If that's not hostile, I'll eat my hat.

Anonymous said...

Chat Room obs.

I joined a chat room way back in 1995 after finding it on a search for a high school friend who has become a well known actor.

No one believed that I knew the actor at first and they were very rude to me.
The chat room quickly became cliquey and "new" members were always suspect.
Acronyms were developed that excluded new members because they didn't understand them.
The regulars became experts on the actor and repeated things that weren't necessarily true.
There was much criticism when he became involved with a woman who is now his wife and with whom he has 2 children. Of course now, everyone loves her.
The actor was worshipped to the extent that if a role required him to smoke, many became upset.
When he began to make public appearances, it was pandemonium, complete with jealousy about who got to be close to him.
"Leaders" formed and they became the super experts and began ordering people around at public appearances.
At public appearances, everyone asked him for a hug and a picture. A HUG?
They were his special fans. If someone dared talk to him without following the informal appearance rules, they were chastised.
People were banned from chats to the extent that a very nice person set up a website for people to talk. Even there, arguing began and certain people were "in the know".
Any charity that he supported was supported by them (not a bad thing, but if it didn't involve a personal appearance, they dropped off)

Certain people are ostracized when the "group" gets together though the actor is extremely nice to EVERYONE and disdains this behavior.
Only certain people are "allowed" to contact his publicist.

These are primarily middle aged women and many are married. However, they spend tons of money to go to the appearances and follow him and say their husbands have no problem with it. I just wonder.

The need to be in an "in crowd" appears to be very strong. He does nothing to self-promote or get anyone to buy anything the way Carlos does.

My point after all of this is: the best thing to do is ignore the chat rooms. There is a personality that feels the need to spend inordinate amounts of time in them, makes artificial relationships, enjoys putting others down (like back in high school) in order to be part of the clique and will not "tolerate" anyone who would like to share new info or who has a real relationship with him.

I mean, telling strangers that you love them, talking in a public forum about personal things and banning people without even understanding what they are talking about is just wrong.

Sorry to go on and on, but the Chat Room stuff is a very common phenomena. It's not worth our time.
Sorry for the long post. I'm with your causes, Stacey and continue to be concerned about the flashes I see when watching the owls at night.

Best to all, Kate

SueDonym said...

Kate... gee, that sounds a lot like what is going on here.

Stacey O'Brien said...

Please be aware that "ruthrings" is a moderator on the owl box and seems to be close w/ be aware..

Magicsmom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Magicsmom said...

Stacey O'Brien said...
Please be aware that "ruthrings" is a moderator on the owl box and seems to be close w/ be aware..

Stacey, I appreciate the heads-up, but I was already aware of who ruthrings is and what his or her role is at the owl box. I know I will not get through to this particular person about what is going on over there, but hopefully someone who is starting to wake up will hear a ring of truth in what I am saying. Many people have been banned without cause - at least not for any infraction we may have committed on their watch. However, the thought police are at work, and people are not permitted to have an independent thought about what they see going on.

That said, the clock is ticking and soon enough the owl box and all the goings-on over there won't be going on anymore. Thank God it has a shelf life.

Stacey O'Brien said...

In the meantime, DO enjoy the owlets as they learn to fly and hunt! I just put it on fullscreen and enjoy learning from them and watching them. Notice how they DO watch each other and learn from each other? How they copy each other and gain courage from each other? They are definitely relating emotionally, now, and are very aware of their siblings as companions and fellow beings.

There is more and more (well, tons, really) evidence of altruism and empathy in animals. I think we saw evidence of that when Max went down to be w/ Pattison when he fell (do I have the names right?). This is not an anomaly! Scientist are finally admitting that they see empathy in many, many species across the board, and even from one species to another.

In most of these cases, there is no other explanation for what has been observed. Even in experiments, monkeys choose the empathetic choice over the selfish one, quite often. They feed monkeys who they see are not being fed, for example. I do think, now, that it's possible that Max was helping Wesley on occasions, especially when they were older and becoming more aware of each other emotionally.

I also appreciate how careful commenters have been in making these observations, even doubting themselves, but with an overwhelming body of evidence on the side of empathy among animals of much lower intelligence than owls, and among animals of higher intelligence, and among birds, I don't think it's at all unusual that owls are showing compassion.

I've seen it personally, and it's gratifying to me that some of you have seen it.

I also appreciate the empathy I've received from some of you humans in recent weeks! I've never been on a chat room, so I was not aware of the dynamics, as were so aptly described by Kate.

Still, we can learn from these wonderful owls, and love them and see how magical they really are. This is inspiring to me, and makes me even more eager to help other owlets to have a successful and joyful branching experience. They really do seem to enjoy themselves w/ the pouncing and are beginning to play like kittens as they gain confidence!

Anonymous said...

If you've happened on the Owl Box feed to see the owls, you'll see the picnic that Carlos' & followers are having near his home.

I caught him talking to the crowd and all. This is EXACTLY like one of the events that the group I wrote about earlier!! I wasn't too surprised. The people even look the same in many respects and the worship and gifts. Oh my!



regihunter said...

Hi Stacey,
I just finished your book, it was wonderful. I cared for everyone in your book as if I knew them personally. Wesley was my owl for my time of reading I love that precious little man. I can only imagine what you felt and still feel about losing precious Wesley.

I do know the feeling however I had an English Bulldog puppy named Patches. We bred our girl to have puppies and poor little patches at 6 wks old was diagnosed with Spina Bifida. We received another heartbreak for our poor Patches. My young nephew wanted to see the puppies in the playpen and slipped on Patches right rear leg. The vet said he went through a trauma, he is fine will have a weak back leg and he is in no pain. He wanted to know if we wanted to put him down. We decided as a family we are responsible we bred Patches mother Sable. I kept him in diapers and fastened a man's suspenders to the diapers to keep them on. I am so happy I did, he gave me such joy and happiness the short time I had him 3 1/2 short years. He gave me a reason to get up in the morning to care for my sweet boy when my husband died. I and my two sons took care of him and I spoiled him till the day he died.

These are the reasons we have to care for the beautiful animals in our world. We are the stewards and listening to C.R. and all of the merchandising going on is not the way of the Owl. I was on O&O site last night, I enjoy Owlivia's site everyone very informed about your book and the Owl Alliance. Tom Stephens was on chatting last night I did not know who he was immediately. When he started saying he was just chatting with Owlivia about his boxes I knew. I mentioned I wanted to send you an email to ask if we had Barn Owls here in Colorado. He was trying to sell them and he mentioned you when I asked if his boxes were like the UK. He said no they were not monuments, well the chat got a little heated with others asking him to make certain changes also. We even told him maybe he should get with you and conversate about the best boxes for the precious Owls. He was trying to explain and made excuses about the price and he would do special orders. Well I believe he finally got the hint a few of us were telling him about what you thought a true Biologist. How, where and why they need to be built a certain way. He mentioned you on Carlos site and if you would of gotten along better with Carlos. I told him, that is another story please do not go there. So Stacey in closing you have made many people more aware, responsible, and more intelligent about the ways of the Barn Owl. I salute you keep up the good work, and we who care will follow.

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