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Internet Celebrity Owl Likely Dead, Caretaker Says

One of the two barnyard owls in San Marcos that became an Internet hit in recent years has not returned to its nest in a week and probably is dead, its caretakers announced this week.

The owls, named Molly and McGee, can be seen on numerous YouTube videos, some of which get up to 40,000 views. The "Mollysbox" blog, where McGee's apparent demise was revealed, has received over half a million hits.

The owls took up residence in January 2010 in a box in the suburban home of Carlos and Donna Royal, and their grandson, Austin Faure. After they set up a camera in the box, their videos became popular on the web as people watch Molly take care of their off-spring.

A cottage industry grew around them, with their likenesses on shirts, mugs and greeting cards. North County author Eric Blehm has written a couple of books on the pair.

Carlos wrote on the blog that Molly is fine.

"She has revisited the owl box every night just after sunset," Carlos said. "The box has been empty during the day. She only stays long enough to look around, rough up some gag shag and then stomp on or dance around the patio. An owl's way of letting other owls know this is her box."

He also thanked blog readers for their kindness and support.

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