Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Pumpkins for Wildlife

Posted by  //  September 26, 2021  //  Articles, Creature Feature

“Jack-o-lantern, Jack-o-lantern, you are such a pretty sight, sitting there inside my window, looking out at the night…”   These lyrics from an old children’s song seem fitting as we welcome Fall and its bounty of pumpkins, gourds and squash.  Our wildlife neighbors also appreciate the harvest season, so when it’s time to discard your pumpkins and gourds, why not keep Mother Nature’s children in mind?

While scooping your pumpkins, collect the seeds which can be air-dried or baked in a 300-degree oven for 40 minutes.  Offer the seeds to wildlife in a platform feeder or mixed in with birdseed.  Alternatively, store the seeds to plant next year which supports the Squash Bee, a valuable insect pollinator.  You can also break open or cut up pumpkins and scatter the chunks outside, providing a “happy harvest” for area wildlife.  Various songbirds, deer, foxes, wild turkeys, squirrels and chipmunks all enjoy pumpkin flesh and seeds.  

According to the National Wildlife Federation, pumpkins are 90% water and begin to decompose soon after carving.  Designate any moldy pumpkins to the compost pile, where they make a great addition; just remove any remaining seeds first to avoid unwanted plants from sprouting.  

Check out for simple instructions on making an easy do-it-yourself pumpkin birdfeeder – a fun and rewarding autumn activity for older kids!

Article & photo by Margie Manthey

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