Oct 2, 2014 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, October 2014

Don't Throw Away Your Pumpkin Seeds!

When you scrape out your pumkins this fall, do the birds a favor—save the seeds and add them to your feeder offerings!
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As you scrape out pumpkin guts for a pie or jack-o'-lantern, don't throw away the seeds! Don't even compost them! Squash seeds of any sort, including pumpkins, are a high protein treat for birds.

First, wash the seeds, removing most of the pulp. If you don't intend to store the seeds, and plan to offer them all at once, just spread them out on the ground or on a platform during dry weather, so they don't rot. If you do want to store them, it's best to boil them for 10 minutes, then spread them out on a cookie sheet or two to minimize overlapping. Bake at 325 for about 30 minutes, turning several times, until they're slightly darker in color. Store in an airtight plastic bag or jar. Don't salt them unless you intend to eat them yourself!

Only birds with strong bills, such as cardinals, grosbeaks, jays, and titmice, can crack the hulls, but they'll relish what's inside!

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