Backyard Chirper

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How Your Extra Pumpkins Can Benefit Birds

Halloween is in the rear view mirror. It’s time to put away your inflatable ghosts and count your candy. But there’s still one large orange elephant in the room you have to take care of: your pumpkin.

Pumpkins are the staple and symbol of Halloween and are often used to carve ghoulish faces. However, many pumpkins sit without being touched at all.

Instead of wasting the pumpkins by tossing them in the trash, you can actually do quite a number of things with your spare pumpkins, including make a planter, make pumpkin butter and more. You can also use your pumpkins to help birds—which is what some owners of pumpkin patches do after Halloween.

Turn the pumpkin into a bird feeder

We’re all familiar with pumpkins making great jack o’lanterns, but they can also make great bird feeders. The process is similar to carving a jack o’lantern. You remove the insides, scrape the sides to really hollow the pumpkin out and carve a nice slot in the side to allow birds to fly in and out. For more detailed instructions and pictures, check out this site.

Pumpkin seeds make great bird food

If you’re planning on doing something more with your pumpkin—like eat the meat or create a bird feeder from it—you’ll have a lot of spare pumpkin seeds on your hand. Birds love chowing down on these seeds. But before putting them out for the birds, make sure the seeds are separated from the guts and completely dried out. Pumpkin seeds usually attract jays, cardinals and larger birds.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.