Recycling Pumpkins for Birds and Wildlife

Repurpose your pumpkins to benefit birds, butterflies, deer and more. Also save the seeds for next years garden and make compost.

pumpkinsCourtesy Sherry Holbein/Country magazine

Halloween is approaching, so there’s a good chance you have a pumpkin or two around your house. They make great decorations, but once the carving and trick-or-treating is over, don’t just toss them in the trash. There are lots of great ways to use pumpkins in and around the yard in the weeks ahead.

Share Pumpkin Seeds with Birds

Many people roast and eat pumpkin seeds themselves, but you can also share them with birds. Larger wild birds like blue jays love pumpkin seeds, too. Follow these directions to roast them (no salt or seasoning, please!) and offer on a tray feeder or just sprinkle on the ground for birds to enjoy.

Turn Your Pumpkin into a Bird Feeder

As suggested by a Birds & Blooms reader, hollow out your pumpkin and fill it with birdseed for an inexpensive and easy DIY bird feeder.

Share Pumpkins with Wildlife

In warmer climates, offer pumpkin flesh and pulp in your butterfly garden. Simply cut into small pieces and place in a shallow dish for fruit-loving butterflies like red-spotted purples to enjoy. In areas where butterflies are already gone for the winter, you can offer the pumpkin pieces for other wildlife like deer and rabbits.

Save Seeds to Plant in Spring

If you have a garden, set aside a handful of seeds to plant in the spring. Rinse and dry the seeds in a cool dry place for several weeks and then store until next year. Learn how to start seeds indoors.

Make Compost

If nothing else, at least compost your pumpkins when you’re done with them. They break down nicely and offer lots of great nutrients. Learn how to make a DIY compost bin.

Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.