Dead trees, or snags, are valuable to a wide variety of wildlife. Unfortunately, many people assume snags are of no value and routinely cut them down. In some places, this practice has caused cavity_nesting bird and mammal populations to decline. Though nest boxes may provide alternate nesting sites for some cavity_nesting birds, they are not suitable replacements for dead trees. Here's why: Snags provide homes for woodpeckers. Woodpeckers use snags for drumming, nesting, roosting, and feeding. Woodpeckers hammer their bills against the resonating surface of dead tree trunks to make a loud drumming sound; this is their courtship and territorial "song."
Spruce and hemlock trees provide excellent cover; birch, willow, and alder provide natural seed sources, and some berry_producing plants attract birds that rarely come to feeders. A brush pile also can provide cover for some birds. For more information, read "Landscaping for Wildlife in Alaska." Types of Feeders and Where to Place Them: Different birds prefer different sorts of feeders and locations, so to get the most variety of birds, use two or more feeders. A suet feeder on a tree and a window_ or tray_feeder for seeds is the simplest combination. The feeders shown below are just examples; use your imagination to design feeders that match the landscape and architecture of your home.