Rare snowy owl in California draws crowds to Cypress neighborhood

A rare snowy owl is causing some commotion in a Southern California neighborhood. The bird, which is native to the Arctic tundra, was discovered last month in Cypress, a city about 25 miles south of Los Angeles. Since December 27, the owl has been spotted daily on rooftops in the neighborhood, drawing in crowds of birdwatchers and other looky-loos from all around the world.


"It's astonishing to see a snowy owl in Southern California," said Chris Spurgeon, program chair and member of the board of directors at the Pasadena Audubon Society, a local chapter of the National Audubon Society serving the Greater Pasadena area of California.

Spurgeon and Davey aren't alone in their excitement. There have been hundreds of people admiring the owl some days, and some have traveled hundreds of miles, Davey said.

"In February … I flew to Manitoba (Canada), and then drove several hours north just to see a snowy owl," Davey said. "It was 25 degrees below zero in northern Canada. I never thought I'd see one standing in my shirtsleeves on a suburban street in 70-degree weather."

What brought the owl to balmy Orange County? The New York Times reports that it's a "mystery."

(2014) Why are so many snowy owls showing up in places so far south from the Arctic?