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You are both right! Common name is hoot owl but officially called barred owl.
Check this out to read about the battle between the spotted owl and the barred owl in the PNW. Pretty interesting stuff!
I have always had good luck at the end of March, but it does depend somewhat on the winter weather. March through April would probably be your best bet. These shots were taken in the foothills on the other side of Fresno, which is a really beautiful, fairly unexplored area