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Baby owl featured on OC nest webcam dies

A webcam showing the life of a frail-looking baby owl had viewers around the world expressing concern.

March 9, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A frail-looking baby owl featured on a nest webcam that had viewers around the world expressing concern has died.

Thousands of people around the world were watching six barn owl chicks and their parents living their lives through streaming video. Ranch manager Pete DeSimone set up the webcam 100 feet up inside a large cavity of an old eucalyptus tree at the Starr Ranch Sanctuary in Orange County.

Viewers watched the owls as they laid their eggs and witnessed the eggs hatch. But one owlet who was much smaller than the rest had viewers worried.

One webcam viewer wrote "Looks like #6 is hungry," while another person wondered, "Can it be rescued?"

There had been calls for DeSimone to save No. 6 by taking it out of the nest, but he said he wouldn't manipulate nature.

On Wednesday, officials confirmed that No. 6 died.

DeSimone said the survival rate of offspring can be as low as 5 percent.

Most commenters on the site supported DeSimone's decision not to intervene.

DeSimone said he believes the experience helps to educate others, letting thousands watch nature run its course without humans stepping in to help.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.