Repurposing Your Pumpkins for Wildlife

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

It's spooky season! And there is officially a chill in the air. For many, this week will include Halloween festivities, pumpkin carving and displaying of jack-o-lanterns. Because we've all gone out and got pumpkins, I wanted to provide some tips and tricks for repurposing your pumpkins for wildlife instead of disposing them. Many wildlife species enjoy pumpkin and you can easily transform your pumpkin into a bird feeding station with minimal effort. 

Red Bellied Woodpecker enjoying peanuts out of a pumpkin. Photo by Marlene Trott. 

Here a few ways to repurpose your pumpkin for wildlife: 

1. Save the seeds

If you are a last minute carver (me too), don't just throw out all that guck! Birds enjoy pumpkin seeds. If you already roast seeds for yourself, make a separate batch without salt or seasoning to offer to the birds. Typically, baking at 300 for 45 minutes does the trick. Let them cool and offer them in tray feeders or put them back in a hollowed pumpkin as a feeder. This is also a great activity for children, as they can be involved in all the steps: gutting, roasting, putting out and seeing what kind of visitors they attract. 

2. Make a bird feeder

Hollowed out pumpkin filled with unshelled peanuts. Made and photographed by Marlene Trott. 

If you have already carved your pumpkin, don't fret, post-Halloween night your pumpkin can still be put to use as a bird feeder. Simply open the top and fill with shelled peanuts or bird seed of your choosing. You can even spread BarkButter on the outside for extra interest and see who visits. You can hang your feeder with twine by punching small holes in the edges and tying it up or simply place it on a surface such as a deck or garden bed. 

Pine Siskin and American Goldfinches enjoying a pumpkin filled with Millet and Unshelled Peanuts. Photo by Kristen Martyn. 

3. Cut up your pumpkin to share with other wildlife

Aside from birds, many wildlife species enjoy eating the pumpkin itself. I would know, I have a few squirrels that decided to eat mine as is - lol! You can even cut the pumpkin into pieces and put it in a section of your yard where you can view from inside and see who visits. Squirrels definitely love it but so do rabbits and deer. You may be surprised by who you attract. 

Eastern Grey Squirrels will happily join the festivities. Photo by Kristen Martyn. 

I am declaring November 1st as a Pumpkin Party for wildlife! Great news, you likely already have all the supplies you need. 

Happy Halloween & Pumpkin Party. 



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