Updated at: 22-09-2022 - By: Jane Brody

The design is where most people get confused between a bird house and a bird feeder, but once you grasp the difference, everything makes sense.

The primary purpose of a bird house is to provide a safe and dry place for migratory birds to nest or rest when it is not breeding season. Bird feeders, especially those crafted from wood, can resemble nesting boxes from a distance, although their primary function is to store food, typically seeds or peanuts. An inclined roof can be confusing, but a bird house has a hole for birds to enter, whereas a feeder does not.

To attract birds to your backyard who want to live in wooden bird houses, you can mount a special box anywhere from two to three meters from the ground.

Feeders are designed to carry wild bird feed, but are typically created to be hanging, within reach of people on the ground, so that they can be easily accessed.

Wooden bird houses and feeders are sometimes mistaken for one another.

Birds can only enter and leave a house through its single entrance hole. In this case, the bird feeder is more like a silo than a traditional feeder, with the food falling out of the bottom as the birds eat.

Wooden hanging bird feeders can seem a lot like bird houses from two perspectives, but at least the entrance for food will be clearly labeled as such.

The feed could be seen through a mesh or transparent glass in the feeder, but the feed could only be removed from the bottom.

Bird houses designed similar to bird feeders

Bird House Vs Bird Feeder

There’s no hiding the fact that bird feeders can be styled to mimic the appearance of bird houses, but the inverse is never true.

Large, hopper-style hanging feeders are one option, while square, long feeders are another.

Such feeders confound your prior knowledge and make little sense if the feed within is hidden from view.

Therefore, the standard for “hidden” bird feeders is a metal mesh cage for peanuts or a clear plastic window for seeds.

There is no way to fool a metal or plastic feeder for a bird home, as bird houses are typically built of wood.

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Mix up limited to wooden options

Only bird feeders made of wood can be confused with bird houses, because both can be designed to seem like a house, complete with an angled roof.

Wooden bird homes can take on many various forms, each optimized for luring a specific species of wild bird into it for the purposes of nesting or roosting.

Bird feeders made of other materials besides wood typically have metal mesh or a clear plastic glass in the center to allow birds to fly in and out.

Bird feeders and wooden bird homes look similar because of the angled roofs found on both types of structures.

Houses have an entrance hole

The entrance hole on a bird house is what sets it apart from a bird feeder, which can also be hung or mounted on a tree or wall.

In contrast to popular belief, bird feeders are not designed to resemble actual bird houses in any way, shape, or form.

In most cases, the rounded entrance hole is used in bird homes, with the size varying with the variety of birds being housed.

A common design feature of both bird houses and feeders is a wide open space where food is housed, yet birds can enter to pick up seeds or nuts. This can make it difficult to tell the difference between the two.

Bluebird bird houses, whether they’re constructed from wood or the highly discouraged porcelain, are produced in essentially the same method.

Feeders are enclosed spaces

Bird House Vs Bird Feeder-2

In most circumstances, a bird feeder can be distinguished from a bird house by the fact that it is an enclosed wooden box that is not meant for birds to enter.

By acting as a silo and allowing the food to fall to the bottom, this feeder restricts access to the bird seed to only the bottom.

The only way into a bird house is through the entrance hole or the wide open front.

Birds will destroy bird feeders if they are allowed to enter the interior, and doing so would expose the food within to the outdoors.

Bird houses typically have a roof hatch or a hinged door on the side for easy access.

However, feeders can only be accessed from above, as the bottom sides must be kept in place to prevent feed from leaking onto the ground if the feeder is opened.

Confusion with hanging or fixed

Bird House Vs Bird Feeder-3

The only time I’ve ever seen a bird house hung in the United States wasn’t for decoration, but I can nearly guarantee that you won’t either.

High up on a brick wall or tree trunk is where you’ll most often see a wooden bird home mounted.

Also, if the birdhouse is too high for the birds to reach, it is not a feeder but rather a place for the birds to rest or nest.

It’s more likely to be a bird feeder if it’s at ground level, where it can be easily reached for maintenance and restocking.

A hanging bird house isn’t something you’d see every day, but if you do, you can rest assured that it serves a purpose beyond mere decoration.

To my knowledge, the United States is the only country where hanging bird feeders, even those that can pass for bird houses, are commonly used.


Backyard bird houses in the United States and Canada are typically simple wooden boxes with a single entrance hole.

The design of a bird feeder and a bird house can easily get mixed up, as the two structures share many similarities in their construction.

Only the timber construction of a bird house or feeder can throw you off, hence this material is almost exclusively used.

As a general rule, bird houses are just closed up boxes with a little opening.

Bird feeders are similar to houses in that they are made of wood, but they feature a mesh for storing nuts or a clear plastic window for suspending seeds.

If it is, it could be a feeder, as bird houses are frequently shown in the yard around the United States.

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