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Project

Gourd Bird Feeders

Introduction

Fall is the best time to start a bird-feeding program that will last until spring. As the temperature begins to drop, the natural food supply dwindles, forcing birds to look for alternative sources to get them through the cold winter months. A feeder put out in the fall is sure to become a regular stop on birds' winter feeding rounds. The foods birds love include black-oil sunflower seeds, suet, peanuts, cracked corn, peanut butter, thistle, fruit, and shelled sunflower seeds.

Materials

  • 9-to-15-inch bottle gourd, dried
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Craft saw
  • Drill and 3/8-inch bit
  • 4 sturdy twigs
  • Waxed twine
  • Upholstery needle

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Loosen dried gourd seeds by slapping the gourd with your palm. Draw the shape of a window opening on paper, and cut it out; trace it onto the gourd's surface four times.

  2. Step 2

    Use a craft saw to cut along tracings. Shake out gourd seeds. Drill a hole beneath each opening, and find twigs that will fit snugly inside them; insert twigs. Drill two holes, one on either side of the gourd's neck. Thread twine through holes with an upholstery needle; loop over tree branch.

  3. Step 3

    Hang feeder under some sort of shelter, so that the seeds stay dry and don't become moldy. You may also like to drill two holes on the base of the gourd to encourage water drainage.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, November 2002

Reviews (32)

  • hummingbirdfeeder 28 Feb, 2010

    Heard a ton of great things about the bird feeders by Perky Pet, you have any thoughts or reviews?

  • hummingbirdfeeder 28 Feb, 2010

    Heard a ton of great things about the bird feeders by Perky Pet, you have any thoughts or reviews?

  • hummingbirdfeeder 21 Feb, 2010

    Fantastic idea for using gourds, really creative. Do you have any for <a href="http://www.birdfeeders.com/store/hummingbird-feeders/122tf">hummingbird feeders</a>?

  • janihayes 9 Nov, 2008

    you can find a lot of cool gourds on ebay, or at the web site of Wellborn gourd farm in Ca.

  • Los-creations 6 Nov, 2008

    I have dried gourds for years and the best way is to dry them in a barn or garage where it is dry all winter. Some do not make it but a lot will if they had enough dry air to them. I found my horse barn to work really well.

  • lstantz 5 Nov, 2008

    I LOVE THIS! Good craft, marthastewart.com! Keep them coming.

  • NorbieK 4 Nov, 2008

    oh how cute!! Ok where exactly can I find a gourd?

  • Marcia8888 4 Nov, 2008

    How do you dry a gourd anyway?

  • cwoodard 4 Nov, 2008

    Thanks for the great idea! I purchased a gourd at my local apple orchard and was going to make a bird house but this idea is better. Think I will use a squirrel baffle though to keep the rain out so the seed doesn't mold. My birds thank you too!

  • rowdysunsetart 4 Nov, 2008

    PLEASE NOTE WARNING: ALWAYS USE MASKS AND DONT BREATH THE DUST TO ANY KIND OF GOURDS-THEY CONTAIN MOLD THAT IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH IF INGESTED!

  • rowdysunsetart 4 Nov, 2008

    PLEASE NOTE WARNING: ALWAYS USE MASKS AND DONT BREATH THE DUST TO ANY KIND OF GOURDS-THEY CONTAIN MOLD THAT IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH IF INGESTED!

  • rowdysunsetart 4 Nov, 2008

    PLEASE NOTE WARNING: ALWAYS USE MASKS AND DONT BREATH THE DUST TO ANY KIND OF GOURDS-THEY CONTAIN MOLD THAT IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH IF INGESTED!

  • euni 4 Nov, 2008

    A large aluminun pie pan with a [filtered word] drilled in the middle to fit over the top of the gourd would also provide shelter as well as keep squirrels out of the feeder.

  • euni 4 Nov, 2008

    A large aluminun pie pan with a [filtered word] drilled in the middle to fit over the top of the gourd would also provide shelter as well as keep squirrels out of the feeder.

  • euni 4 Nov, 2008

    A large aluminun pie pan with a [filtered word] drilled in the middle to fit over the top of the gourd would also provide shelter as well as keep squirrels out of the feeder.

  • skeedaddler 4 Nov, 2008

    Love the fingers holding the cloth up!

  • skeedaddler 4 Nov, 2008

    Love the fingers holding the cloth up! A word of caution about drilling holes in the bottom though. Some seed will be small enough to fall through and the larger ones will clog those holes, so you really need to check the feeders regularly for mold unless they are hung where rain can't get to them. A small mesh screen can be cut in a circle and placed in the bottom which would allow bigger drain holes and that would aid airflow and help prevent the mold issue.

  • skeedaddler 4 Nov, 2008

    Love the fingers holding the cloth up! A word of caution about drilling holes in the bottom though. Some seed will be small enough to fall through and the larger ones will clog those holes, so you really need to check the feeders regularly for mold unless they are hung where rain can't get to them. A small mesh screen can be cut in a circle and placed in the bottom which would allow bigger drain holes and that would aid airflow and help prevent the mold issue.

  • skeedaddler 4 Nov, 2008

    Love the fingers holding the cloth up! A word of caution about drilling holes in the bottom though. Some seed will be small enough to fall through and the larger ones will clog those holes, so you really need to check the feeders regularly for mold unless they are hung where rain can't get to them. A small mesh screen can be cut in a circle and placed in the bottom which would allow bigger drain holes and that would aid airflow and help prevent the mold issue.

  • skippydou 4 Nov, 2008

    How do you dry a gourd. It might sound stupid but I have no idea... Can someone help?

  • skippydou 4 Nov, 2008

    How do you dry a gourd. It might sound stupid but I have no idea... Can someone help?

  • rrnmr581 4 Nov, 2008

    Save your gourd seeds, wash and dry thoroughly. I paint gourds and use the seeds to add to a painted roof area. Can make some really cute gourds that way. Just glue them on with a good glue. Safety hint, wear a face mask whenever cleaning out a dried gourd, the dust will mess up your lungs...

    Marilyn

  • Molly454 4 Nov, 2008

    I just Googled "drying gourds" and found a site that INSISTS on Gourd Safety, as gourd dust can cause all kinds of health problems due to the mold and spores in the air. Please check it out before trying this even ONCE.

  • JackBear 4 Nov, 2008

    First, it's rude to refer to anyone, much less Martha, as "she." As for gourds, let them dry thoroughly on the vine. Scrub them with a 3M scouring pad. Dry in slow oven - 170 - a couple of days. If you cut open a green gourd, it's interesting but not what this project asks for.

  • PCT1105 4 Nov, 2008

    When I tried to drill a [filtered word] the gourd split. Any suggestions?

  • balloozle 4 Nov, 2008

    yeh, how do you dry a gourd?

  • lorid79 4 Nov, 2008

    It takes all winter in a cool dark place to dry a gourd.

  • mdunlap24 4 Nov, 2008

    You can also buy them already dried at a craft shop like Michael's.

  • CarmelaRose 4 Nov, 2008

    Why doesn't she just tell us how to dry a gourd??

  • Rudyroo 4 Nov, 2008

    Love the birdfeeders! would love to see more projects using gourds!

  • toto2 4 Nov, 2008

    Go to www.local.com and just enter "gourds" and your zip code. Might find some farmers, nurseries, etc., that sell them locally.

  • diva_nj 4 Nov, 2008

    ok..i'll go first....
    where can you get dried gourds?