STOCKTON (CBS13) — The newest member of a protection team at the Port of Stockton came out of its shell live on its owl cam.

The baby barn owl will be one of many helping protect levees and keep the future home of Google’s mystery barge rodent-free.

The solar-powered infrared cameras are rolling 24-7 and caught the hatching on camera.

“It’s nature, and it’s not something you get to see very often.

You can watch the owls online, and the port showcases highlights on Facebook.

While the owls are a smashing hit on social media, the houses were actually built to attract natural rat control and levee protection.

“All they need to do is burrow one hole, and you can get water that’s coming in there, seepage that could weaken our levee system substantially,” said Jeffery Wingfield.

The pest control is working, as each owl family gobbles about a couple of thousand rodents every year.

“We provide them a home,” he said. “It’s not free. We expect them to do a job, and that’s to control our rodents without using a lot of pesticides.

The port started streaming owl cams two weeks ago to engage the community, something they hadn’t been able to do in light of homeland security restrictions from Sept. 11.

While the owls are working to keep the rats out, the port still uses a small amount of pesticide.

The port says more baby owls are ready to hatch, and they will soon be naming them.


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