Great Horned Owl Nest at Wilkerson Nature Preserve

News posted Apr. 24, 2018 - 3:57 pm

An active great horned owl nest with two owlets has been identified at Wilkerson Nature Preserve.

The two great horned owlets at Wilkerson Nature Preserve, now seven weeks old, are actively practicing their flying skills by flapping their wings and jumping from branch to branch. Their nest tree is conveniently located between the comfort station and the picnic shelter so their antics can be enjoyed by all.

The best time to view the owlets is after 7 p.m. when mother owl usually flies to the nest tree with food. The park is open until 8 p.m. during the month of May and it’s a great time to see deer and other nocturnal wildlife as well. Park hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Sundays, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Visitors can view the owls with binoculars or spotting scopes from the field near the nest tree. Binoculars can be checked out from the park office free of charge. Photographers will want to use telephoto lenses for the best pictures.

The Wilkerson park office, located at 5229 Awls Haven Drive in north Raleigh, has more information on owls and a bulletin board with photos of the great horned owlets at different ages. Children will enjoy making a free owl mask to take home.

The City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Department (PRCR) is taking the following steps to discourage disturbance of this protected species, its nest and owlets, while allowing compatible activities to continue:

  • The area directly under and around the nest tree has been roped off to protect the owlets and the public;
  • If you see a young owl on the ground or out of the nest, please report this to the park office immediately. Do not approach or attempt to touch an owl under any circumstances;
  • All dogs must be leashed and kept away from the area directly around the nest tree or from any owl on the ground; and,
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles (Drones) are not permitted to operate at the nature preserve.

The picnic shelter and nature play areas adjacent to the nest site will remain open unless the young owls fall out of the nest or begin to “branch” in this area. If this occurs, the areas may be closed off for a short time to ensure the safety of the owls and the public.

Please refer reports of nest disturbance to park staff or to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s wildlife violation, questions, or concerns line at 1-800-622-7131 (Raleigh Area 919-707-0040).


  • Wilkerson Nature Preserve
  • 5229 Awls Haven Dr
  • Raleigh, NC 27614
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