Snowy Owl by Dan Lockshaw © 2006

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Other identification photos of this owl: Next

Snowy Owl is a rare occurance in California. This was taken just north-east of San Francisco (Solano County) in January of 2006. The previous records of Snowy Owls in CA were in the Snowy Owl invasion of 1916-17,1966-67, 1973-74 (when at least 43 Snowy Owls were found in the state and the largest flight of Snowy Owls on record, or at least since 1896-97 when "flocks" were in the state), and 1977-78 when 3 to 4 showed up in the far north-west.
Note: I assume this is a young male for multiple reasons. First is that the young males tend to move the furthest south in the US (Kerlinger and Lein 1986). Second, probably the key point to look for in determining sex is the extent of the white bib (larger on males)... that shows on this individual. Other factors that do not show well in this photo with young males are lesser black markings on the nape along with fewer and narrower black markings overall than females. To a lesser degree males tend not to have "as dark" of black markings (rather more brownish black)... although this bird did have very dark (black) markings on its back.
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