The Port of Stockton is becoming a hit on the web not for ships or the view, but for owls.
The port has several “owl cams” keeping a constant eye on barn owls that live on the 2,000 acre property.
Owls are important because the port is virtually surrounded by levees, which can be damaged by rodents that burrow holes into them.
The owls are prolific rodent hunters.
“One family typically consumes two-thousand to three-thousand rodents per breeding season. So if you multiply that by 15 times – how many owl boxes we have – it’s a pretty good, efficient way to control rodents,” Jeff Wingfield, the director of environmental, governmental and public affairs for the Port of Stockton, said.
While the owl boxes have been here for two years, the cameras just went online two weeks ago.
They recently captured the season’s first chick hatching. Several more chicks are expected to hatch in the next few days.
The webcams are helping the port connect with the community.
“We get to share what’s going on with the owls with the community and schoolkids and teachers, and that’s one thing that we really want to focus on – to educate our community about what species live here and let them view this great stuff along with us,” Wingfield said.
The next step in this process actually involves you. The Port of Stockton will be asking for the public’s help in coming up with names for the little guys being born in these boxes.