Are you looking for fun ways to make a DIY bird feeder? This simple step-by-step tutorial shows you how to turn a pumpkin into a fantastic homemade bird feeder with a few basic supplies.
This is just one of the fun activities from my book *A Year of Nature Craft and Play. Packed with a whole year’s worth of crafts, games, art activities, science experiments and gardening projects, it’s designed to help kids spend time outdoors and get creative with nature. You can find out more about it in my nature play blog post.
Can you use a pumpkin for a bird feeder?
Absolutely. Making a bird feeder from a pumpkin is a brilliant way to use up your pumpkins after halloween, or you can make a halloween bird feeder as part of your spooky decorations. You could of course make a pumpkin bird feeder when it isn’t halloween too, starting with an intact pumpkin and using the flesh and seeds in your cooking or baking. Either way, it’s a great option for cutting down on waste while also helping to make your garden wildlife friendly.
A hollowed out pumpkin is naturally a really good shape for a simple bird feeder. It gives you a nice open surface area for the bird feed, and the sides make the perfect place for birds to perch while feeding.
As well as being a good shape and size, turning a pumpkin into a bird feeder is lots of fun. Children (and adults) will love to get hands-on with the whole process, from scooping out to filling and hanging. And once your pumpkin bird feeder is in the garden you can encourage kids to keep an eye on the wildlife that comes to visit. You can also extend the learning with a pumpkin life cycle worksheet.
The other great advantage of making bird feeders from pumpkins is the cost. If you use an old halloween pumpkin you’ve got yourself a really cheap bird feeder!
Do birds like the inside of a pumpkin?
As well as enjoying whatever bird food you put inside your pumpkin, birds will also love to eat the pumpkin itself.
Will birds eat pumpkin seeds?
If you’re not using the pumpkin seeds in your cooking, birds will enjoy those too. Pumpkin seeds are easier for larger birds with strong beaks to eat, so you could see some sizeable species paying your diy bird feeder a visit.
What do I need to make a pumpkin bird feeder?
To make a bird feeder from a pumpkin you will need:
- A pumpkin (leftover after halloween or intact)
- Sharp knife
- Sticks (as straight as possible)
- Bird seed or other bird food
Easy pumpkin bird feeder DIY
Ready to turn your pumpkin into a feast for local birds? Here’s how to make a pumpkin bird feeder.
Preparing your pumpkin
Start by using a sharp knife to cut the top off your pumpkin – this is definitely a job for the grown-ups. If your pumpkin is really big you may find it easier to use a saw.
Now for the messy bit! Scoop out all the stringy flesh and seeds from the inside of the pumpkin. I think it’s easiest to start with your hands, and then use a spoon to scrape the last bits from the sides.
If you’re using a pumpkin that you’ve already hollowed out for halloween you can skip these first two steps.
Adding sticks to your pumpkin bird feeder
Use a skewer to make four holes in the side of the pumpkin feeder, about halfway down. You need two pairs of holes that are opposite each other and evenly spaced out.
The holes need to be big enough for a stick to fit through, so you’ll probably need to use the skewer to make each one a bit bigger.
Starting on the outside, poke a stick through one of the holes and out the opposite hole. Repeat with another stick in the other two holes. The sticks should cross in the middle of the pumpkin. Each stick should also have a short length on the outside for attaching your string and providing a perch.
Creating a hanging loop for your pumpkin bird feeder
Cut four lengths of string, each about 60cm long. Using a double knot, tie the end of one length to each stick where it meets the outside of the pumpkin.
Gather the other ends of all four pieces of string and tie them together with a knot to create a hanging loop.
Your DIY pumpkin bird feeder needs to hang up straight so that the seed doesn’t fall out. You might need to tweak the length of some strings until the whole thing is well balanced.
Now it’s time to add your bird feed. We used bird seed, but you could also use unsalted peanuts, sunflower seeds, dried mealworms, (a bit yucky but birds love them), uncooked porridge oats or dried fruit. Don’t forget those leftover pumpkin seeds too.
Once your pumpkin bird feeder is full, you can hang it up outdoors. Try to find a spot that’s difficult for cats to reach, with other trees or shrubs close by for birds to quickly fly into if a predator appears.
It’s nice to also position your DIY bird feeder where it’s visible from inside the house.
Fun bird feeder activities
Here are a few ideas for things the kids can do and think about after they’ve made their pumpkin bird feeders.
- Keep a diary of the types of bird who visit your feeder. If you’re not sure what species they are you can use an online tool. You could draw the birds, make a list of them, or turn your records into a bar chart.
- Pay attention to the time of day that your pumpkin bird feeder is busy. Why do you think this is?
- Do some types of bird always visit at the same time of day? Why might this be?
- Is there anywhere else you could hang up a pumpkin bird feeder? For example, in the local park or at school.
All of these activities are ideal for introducing the concepts of observing, learning about and taking care of local wildlife. They’re also a good way to encourage kids to continue to play outside if they need a bit of a nudge 😉
More brilliant ways to make your own bird feeder
Keen to explore other options for how to make a bird feeder? Here are a few of my favourite ideas for bird feeders to make.
Paper cup homemade bird feeder
This was the first type of DIY bird feeder we ever made, and we always come back to it because it’s really easy, lots of fun, and hugely popular with the birds. My homemade bird feeders post has step-by-step instructions.
Fun shaped DIY bird feeders for kids
This is a variation on our homemade bird feeders, using cookie cutters and hollowed-out orange halves. Head over to my DIY bird feeder for kids post for the how-to.
Upcycled garden bird feeders
How about a spot of upcycling? This video shows how to make bird feeders from a teacup and saucer.
More great nature craft and play resources
For more fun nature-themed kids activities, have a look at my posts on spring nature crafts, earth day activities for kids, autumn nature crafts, winter nature crafts and brilliant kids gardening projects.
Remember to check out my book *A Year of Nature Craft and Play too – there are 52 easy, low-cost nature activities for kids to get stuck into.
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