It’s spring and the birds are coming around to look for nesting grounds. Make a birdhouse for them using a gourd. Here are some tips to make a birdhouse from a gourd.
Background on Gourds
Gourds have been used for thousands of years. In North American gourds have been found among the ruins and ancient artifacts of the Mayan Culture. Gourds were also used by the Native Americans as containers for food and liquid. They may have also been used as an exchange item in a trade and barter system.
Gourds are related to melons, pumpkins, and squash. Gourds are grown much the same as squash but are left longer on the vine than most squash.
There are many varieties of gourds but are classified into two groups: Ornamental and Hard-shelled. Typically, hard-shelled gourds are used for the birdhouses. There are specific gourds called Birdhouse Gourds aptly named because of their use in making a birdhouse. But most hard-shelled gourds can be used in birdhouse making.
You have a couple of options in obtaining gourds for use in a birdhouse. You can find the gourds at a local farmers market or directly from a nearby farm. Just ask around at the farmers market if you don’t see what you are looking for. They may know how to get in contact with someone who grows gourds locally.
You can also grow gourds yourself. Find the right gourd seeds at any supermarket, home and garden store or farm market. Gourds thrive in warm and hot weather so wait until there is no danger of frost to plant them.
Most gourds take one hundred days to mature. If you don’t have a long growing season and still want to plant them yourself, then start them inside and give them protection of a greenhouse or cold frame if you place them outside.
Read the instructions on the seed packet for any additional information on gourds.
Gourds used for birdhouses usually have to be at least six inches depending on what bird it is used for. The average bid house made from gourds is six inches.
Gourd Bird House:
Once the gourd is harvested and dried, then you are ready to prepare it for building the bird house.
Drill a hole at least two to three inches round and let the insides dry out. You can scrape the insides out with a spoon or a knife but be careful to not break the softer shell and skin. Once the insides are dry, you can begin painting the bird house.
For use outside, oil-based paint is recommended. If you choose to use a water-based paint such as acrylic paint, then use a base coat and a waterproof finish. Paint the gourd as appropriate. Adding bee shapes or leaf shapes is a good motif idea.
Most birds prefer a natural color so an antique white or a cream color for the base is better. A tan or brown would work well. Two or three coats of paint may be needed because the body of a gourd can be absorbent.
You can fasten a string or wire to the top of the gourd either by drilling a small hole through the gourd’s top or use the stem to tie a string around.
Let the bird house dry and don’t forget the finishing coat.
Hang up the birdhouse where the birds are. Make sure the gourd is far enough away from any human or domestic pet structures so that birds that may normally be wary could make their home in the birdhouse.
The bird house should last for a few years before it will probably need replaced. Hang up a few in the yard and enjoy watching the birds have their neat new little homes.The bird house