So we are about a week beyond Halloween and while some of us may have disposed of our jack-o-lanterns, there are still quite a few hanging around. As we prepare to begin to decorate and get into the Christmas spirit, think twice before disposing of those orange gourds, as there are a number of uses for them that not only can benefit our back yard birds, but other wildlife as well.
If you haven’t already cleaned out the inside of your pumpkins, inside lays a treasure trove of treats that can be enjoyed by your feathered friends in your yard. To the surprise of some, many birds will relish at the opportunity to take part in a pumpkin seed feast.
How to Prepare Pumpkin Seeds For Birds
There is a little bit of preparation involved, but speaking for many birders, we can be sure many of you would be happy to find a new and uniquely seasonal way to feed some of our favourite birds. For beginners, birds will not eat the seeds straight from the pumpkin, so cutting a hole in the top or slicing it in half will not cut it for your discerning birds.
You will need to open up your pumpkin and remove the seeds and thoroughly rinse them in water, making sure to remove the stringy insides, pulp and any other debris. Once this is completed, lay the seeds on a baking sheet and sprinkle with a touch of vegetable oil.
Pop them in the oven for about 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the seeds begin to slightly brown. At this point, pull them out and be sure to let them cool.
How to Feed Pumpkin Seeds to Birds
Given their medium-to-large size, pumpkin seeds are not all that versatile in the way in which you are able to offer them to your birds. That being said, most birders will offer the roasted seeds in a platform feeder that allows a number of different species of birds the opportunity at the seeds. Some hopper feeders will also be able to accommodate these large, tasty treats.
Otherwise, many folks like to leave them on the ground or on flat surfaces such as rocks, logs and any other easily accessible areas.
If you are really keen, feel free to hull the seeds yourself. The small seeds inside are easily consumed by many smaller species of birds, rather than the traditional pumpkin seed eaters such as jays and cardinals.