Pumpkin Feeders for Wildlife
Halloween is approaching so you’re probably going to purchase a pumpkin or two, to decorate, or perhaps you’re not celebrating Halloween but are planning to make some delicious pumpkin soup, perfect for an autumnal day, either way we have some suggestions of how you can repurpose your leftover pumpkins to benefit your garden wildlife.
Birds need energy-rich food to give them enough calories to see them through the colder months ahead. You can purchase shop-bought fat balls but why not make your own variation using leftover pumpkin slices or a hollowed-out pumpkin to fill with their favourite bird seed, mealworms, oats or dried fruit?
Seed coated pumpkin slices
Slice your pumpkin into rings, and thread ribbon or twine through the hole, tying it to create a loop. On a tray or large plate add the bird seed mix and leave to one side. It can get a bit messy so, place the rings on a baking tray lined with parchment and using either melted lard or suet coat the pumpkin ring with a thick enough layer to act as an adhesive for the seed. Then immediately dunk the ring into the birdseed so that it is fully covered and sticks. Leave to set for a short time before taking outside.
If you don’t have lard or suet, then peanut butter spread over the slice works equally as well. If your pumpkin has gone a bit past its best or doesn’t have enough flesh to carry the seeds, then you can also use slices of cored apples or squash coated in seeds. Then hang them in your garden trees and wait for the birds to come and feast.
The shape and size of a hollowed-out pumpkin makes it perfect for a natural bird feeder when Halloween has been and gone. If you have carved an intricate design in your pumpkin, without holes large enough for a small bird to fit, then you might need to cut a larger opening in the side. If you’re thinking of leaving it on a table or wall for birds to feed from then you simply need to remove the top of your pumpkin and fill it with bird seed. If however you’d like to hang your creation from a tree then cut a hole on either side of the pumpkin, near the top, and thread a loop of strong twine through the holes and hang it in the tree for all your feathered friends to see!
The pumpkin feeders won’t last forever, so as soon as it starts to look a little old or rotten, it must be thrown away or composted. Don’t feed the birds if it is rotten and mouldy.