By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
Many birds actively migrate south in autumn, around Halloween and afterward. If you’re along the southern route of the flight path to their winter home, you might want to offer a seasonal treat, such as using a pumpkin as a bird feeder.
Feeding birds with pumpkin isn’t a new idea, but neither is it a common use of the fruit. A few ways to turn a pumpkin into a bird feeder are listed online, but use your imagination for this simple project. This is a simple and fun activity to get your kids involved in wildlife education, and a great way to spend quality learning time with them.
If your autumn routine includes making pumpkin pies, breads, and other treats for the family, save the shell from one of those fresh pumpkins and recycle it as a bird feeder. Use those you’ve carved for jack-o-lanterns too. Some gourds from your autumn displays can also be worked into birdfeeders.
You’ll attract birds that are on the move. If you provide good water sources (for both baths and drinking) and safe resting conditions, perhaps some will pause along their journey and stay for a day or so.
Depending on your location, you might see evening grosbeaks, hawks, Cedar waxwings, and a range of other southbound birds. Conditions in coastal and mountain areas often produce warm winds favored by tree swallows, merlins, American kestrels, and peregrine falcons. Spend some time observing which birds visit your landscape and feeders.
You don’t have to wait until Halloween to come up with unusual and inexpensive ways to feed migrating birds. Get ready for them now.
This easy DIY gift idea is one of many projects featured in our latest eBook, Bring Your Garden Indoors: 13 DIY Projects for the Fall and Winter. Learn how downloading our latest eBook can help your neighbors in need by clicking here.
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One of my favorite parts of Halloween is carving pumpkins. After the trick-or-treaters clear away, and Halloween is officially over, don’t trash your pumpkins! There are several ways to recycle them with wildlife and your garden in mind. How do you reuse pumpkins in your yard?
Squirrel in a pumpkin by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Katherine Flickinger.
I've been wondering how to do these!
Is the baking at 250°F or 250°C
VERY NICE. I will be making these in the fall so the grandkids can watch the birds eat.
I think this is a fantastic idea! I love it. Thanks for sharing this. I will be making 1 or 2 myself!
depending on where one lives, if it is below freezing it could last some time. One could also add it to a compost bin once it has served it's purpose as a feeder.
soon, within a week, your pumpin will rot and attract other not so nice creatures.
Yeah, I know that it will rot eventually. But it isn't necessarily meant to be a permanent installation.
Don't ditch the Halloween pumpkin just yet. Give it a new lease of life in the garden as a pumpkin bird feeder. Pumpkins spend all summer ballooning into huge, majestic,super-squash, then come autumn, most are either made into soup or carved into a lantern at Hallowe’en. These heavyweights of the fruit world – they often reach 35kg – have a rigid shell that’s great for hacking into. This year, why not carve out a new purpose for your pumpkin, as a bird feeder?
1. Cut a 2kg pumpkin in half across its equator, scoop out the seeds but leave behind a wall of pumpkin flesh, around 2cm thick.
2. Cut a 1.5cm deep groove in the rim, then push the pumpkin seeds into the rim, making an attractive and edible border.
3. Create perches for robins, blackbirds and sparrows, which like to sit and eat, rather than hang, off a feeder. Poke holes into the pumpkin skin using a skewer or sharp knife and push twigs and sticks into them for perches.
4. Knot two lengths of twine or string together in the centre, then tack the knot of both lengths to the bottom of the pumpkin feeder, using a drawing pin. This creates a hanging basket effect.
5. Fill with seed and watch your birdie friends tuck in.
Want more Halloween reads? Take our Wicca quiz and find out which witch you are, or preserve your pumpkins with pride.
If you have a lot of pumpkin seeds, then you probably want a bird feeder that can hold them until your birds arrive. For that, you want a bird feeder with wide ports so the seed can flow through it.
Most hopper feeders are made for a wide variety of seed, so they are great for distributing pumpkin seeds. The Holly Berry Gilded Chalet, for example, is an attractive feeder to have up as you transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Another option is any of our collapsible feeders. The diamond mesh feeding areas are perfectly spaced for pumpkin seeds. These feeders are also a favorite among cardinals and Blue Jays.
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