Put Those Pumpkin Seeds to a Good Purpose in the Garden

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According to the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, pumpkin seeds can be a nutritious treat for wild birds. 

pumpkinseed

Scoop it out of your pumpkin and spread it out on a tray to air dry. You can speed up the process by baking the seed in the oven for a short while. 

Next put the dry seed in a food processor to rough and chop them up a bit; this will make them more palatable for little birds like chickadees and titmice. 

You can put the seed out right away or store it in a cool, dry place and put it out in the winter, when natural food sources for birds can be scarce. You can put it in a bird feeder or scatter it on the ground. Squirrels and other wildlife may partake, too.

Squash and melon seeds can be treated the same way and offered to birds.

Books for the bird garden enthusiast:

David Sibley's What It's Like to be a Bird is a beautifully illustrated and completely fascinating bird book. It helps the reader to identify back-yard birds (and beyond), but it also imparts lots of interesting scientific information in a totally accessible way.

Sally Roth's The Backyard Bird Feeder's Bible provides worthwhile advice on choosing and using bird feeders and birdseeds, plus information on identifying birds and their behaviors, and DIY projects to support your efforts at attracting birds.

Follow the steps outlined in the Nation Wildlife Federation's Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife, from planting native plants to creating sheltering spaces and more, and you'll find more birds drawn to your garden.

Read Douglas Tallamy's ideas for homegrown conservation efforts in his latest book, Nature's Best Hope, which includes easy-to-implement strategies for supporting birds and other wildlife across North American gardens and yards.