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From Gourd to Birdhouse

picture of a finished gourd house.

Here's an idea for a different kind of birdhouse. You'll need a gourd. "What's a gourd, you say?" Gourds are related to pumpkins and cucumbers. Just like pumpkins and cucumbers they produce a large fruit with a hard rind.

You can grow gourds in your garden or you can probably find them at a local farmer's market or store. If you're going to grow your own, let the gourd grow until it is 8 - 10 inches long. There are different kinds of gourds. Some are very fleshy and will takes weeks, maybe even months, to dry. Others have a much lower water content and will dry in a few weeks. If you don't know what kind you have, don't worry about it. Just let them dry by hanging them up someplace where they will stay dry and where the wind and air can circulate around them. Check them every few weeks and when the outside skin is hard and the seeds rattle, you're ready to make your birdhouse.

cutting into the gourd

To make a birdhouse that will attract your small neighborhood birds, you need to make a hole in the middle of the gourd about 1 inches across. Get an adult to help you with this part. It helps to put masking tape over the area you're going to cut, since the gourd can be brittle by now. The tape will help firm up the skin, so it doesn't crack. Using a small handsaw and an adult, go ahead and cut your hole. Now, you can empty the gourd of all the seeds and other fibers that have dried inside.

you'll hang the gourd

Once you're finished with the entrance hole, cut a few small holes in the bottom for circulation and drainage. Then find a nice string or ribbon and tie it around the stem of the gourd. If you're afraid that the stem might fall off, put holes at the top of the gourd and put the string through there. Hang it up and you're finished!

Remember that it may take some time for the birds to find the house. Don't give up hope if they don't use it the first season.



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