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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

UNL Extension in Lancaster County

Horticulture - Youth Gardening

"4-H is a community of young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills."

Birdhouses and feeder made from gourds
These gourds were made by 4-H'ers, ages 8-12.
The green gourd is a bird feeder.

Gourd Birdhouses


Try growing your own birdhouses this year. Bottle gourds can be great homes for a variety of birds, including wrens, purple martins and chickadees. Besides bringing their happy song to your yard they can eat thousands of insects a day.

Bottle gourds are easy to grow and seeds are available at garden centers or garden seed catalogs. Plant the gourd seeds in late May. Make sure you have plenty of room for the vines to grow. Let the gourds mature on the vine and pick before a hard frost. Bring the bottle gourds inside and allow them to cure for several months in a cool, dry place until you here the seeds rattle inside as you shake the gourd.

Drill a small front door on the middle side of the gourd. Cut the hole to 1 inch in diameter for wrens, 1 1/8 inches for chickadees and 2 1/4 inches for purple martins. Also drill two or three small holes in the bottom of the gourd for drainage. Drill two more holes in the top of the gourd and thread a piece of wire through these holes to hang the birdhouse.

Hang your new gourd birdhouse in a tree on a sturdy branch.



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University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County is your on-line yard and garden educational resource. The information on this Web site is valid for residents of southeastern Nebraska. It may or may not apply in your area. If you live outside southeastern Nebraska, visit your local Extension office


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Web site: lancaster.unl.edu
444 Cherrycreek Road, Suite A, Lincoln, NE 68528 | 402-441-7180


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