Halloween has long been one of my favorite holidays. I’m sure it is mostly because I have always had an insatiable sweet tooth (Put it this way: I’m lucky my hubby is a dentist!). On this day (feel free to replace “day” with “month,” as I often do!), I believe I get to take full advantage of the opportunity to indulge in my sweet favorites – only in the spirit of the holiday, of course! However, Halloween also ranks in my top 3, along with Thanksgiving and July 4th (hmmmm… turkeys and eagles. Am I sensing a theme here?), because I love to dress up… as a bird – naturally!
I am crazy about costume parties. Who isn’t? I adore the creativity and I love the enthusiasm!
Inspired by 10,000 birds most recent blog, I may just fully embrace the Halloween spirit and go birding in, well, bird costume, this weekend. Not to worry, there will be photographic evidence to follow…
Aside from my feathered flair, there are many other fun ways in which I express my love of birds during this freaky fiesta. An eternal favorite – pumpkin carving – is entertaining and provides great family fun, too! After all, bird themed pumpkin carving is an annual event at our house.
A HALLOWEEN BONUS
Once the last fang is removed, the final broom is put away, and sugar levels return to a semi-normal state, why let all of your pretty pumpkin art go to waste?
Leftover pumpkins provide you with the perfect opportunity to add to your bountiful birding buffet. Bird lovers should know that putting out pumpkin seeds for your wild birds is the perfect way to attract beautiful birds to your backyard and garden.
In fact, you would be doing many birds a favor! Pumpkin can make a significant nutritional contribution to a bird’s diet.
Pumpkins and pumpkin seeds contain large amounts of vitamin A, as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and other nutrients. How do we know this?? Well, this is the reason we created Pacific Bird™ Pumpkin Suet – the perfectly nutritious fall and winter treat!
What kinds of birds does pumpkin attract? Well, considering the size of whole pumpkin seeds (and the toughness of the shell), smaller birds may not be interested… BUT, you are likely to attract larger, colorful birds – like blue jays, cardinal and grosbeaks!
If you are keen on providing some Halloween inspired goodies for birds of the smaller variety, you can always satisfy their needs by supplying them with unshelled pumpkin seeds too.
If roasting pumpkin seeds for your birds, please remember:
1) Do NOT use Teflon and other non-stick pans. The fumes from these pans can be toxic to our winged guests.
2) Salt is NOT good for birds. If you are roasting pumpkin seeds for yourself as well, simply separate out a salt-free portion for the birds once the tray has come out of the oven, and then salt yours to yours to taste.
A few more options for post-Halloween pumpkin usage:
- Simply offer pumpkin seeds on a tray or platform feeder. You can even sprinkle some on the ground for birds to enjoy.
- Hollow out your pumpkin and fill it with bird seed (see above) for an easy, inexpensive and festive feeder creation.
- If you live in warmer climates, like I do (It is 78 degrees in Los Angeles at the moment!), you can offer pumpkin flesh and pulp in your butterfly garden. First, cut pumpkin into small pieces. Then, place pieces into a shallow dish for fruit-loving butterflies like Red-Spotted Purples to enjoy.
BIRD THEMED HALLOWEEN ACTIVITIES
Grab your spouse, your children, or your grandchildren, and enjoy nature! Here are more ways to get into the Halloween spirit….
These free bird-themed pumpkin carving patterns are listed from easiest to most difficult.
- This pumpkin carving stencil depicts a simple singing bird.
- I fell in love with this Spoonbill! I definitely think this will be my pumpkin project this weekend.
- The Tufted Titmouse is a close second. Maybe I will have to make two… More pumpkin for the birds!
- This one shows a bird peeking out of the front door of its birdhouse.
- A great owl pumpkin stencil.
- The Peace dove jack-o-lantern certainly adds a tinge of difficulty.
- I do appreciate the craftiness required for this fancy peacock pumpkin stencil, though I am not sure I am artsy enough to undertake such a tough one. More power to those of you who can! Pictures please.
- In true Martha Stewart fashion, this Night Owl is in a class of its own. I bet Michelle could do it!
Happy Halloween & Happy Birding!