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Creating a Wild Backyard - Great Horned Owl Nest Structure

Tips on Placement:Black & White Illustration of Great Horned Owl Nest

  • Place the nest at least 15 to 20 feet up in a live deciduous (not pine) tree in a wooded area.
  • Tie the nest to a rope, pull it up the tree and wire it securely to a tree crotch.
  • So owls will locate nests for use in January, place nests outdoors in the fall.

Click here for an Illustration of Construction Process

How to Build a Great Horned Owl Nesting Structure


  • 3’ x 3’ piece of 1” mesh chicken wire
  • 1 sq. yard of tarpaper
  • Twigs, leaves, and branches
  • Wire


  1. Form the chicken wire into a shallow cone by cutting from one corner to the center and overlapping the two cut edges until the cone is about 18 inches deep.
  2. Bend the cut ends of the chicken wire around the overlapping wire.
  3. Cut a drain hole in the bottom of the tarpaper cone and line the wire cone with the tarpaper.
  4. Wire sticks and branches inside the cone for nest material.


Design Courtesy of MN DNR
Illustrations by Wade Henry

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