Snags provide "hawking" perches for flycatchers and resting perches for swallows. Flycatchers perch on a branch, fly out to snatch insects, and then return to the same branch to watch for other insects. Large natural cavities, formed in snags by decay, often provide homes for a variey of mammals including marten, porcupine, bats, bushy_tailed woodrats, northern flying squirrels, and other species. When left to decay and fall over naturally, large hollow snags may provide den sites for larger animals like mink, lynx, red fox, and wolverine. To help provide homes for this wide variety of animals, leave dead trees standing whenever possible, particularly snags larger than 6 inches in diameter and/or any containing woodpecker holes or other cavities.
Providing houses for swallows, chickadees, snow buntings, waterfowl, and small owls is an enjoyable hobby for any Alaskan who enjoys wildlife around their home or community. Birdhouses built according to specifications, placed in the proper habitat, and maintained regularly benefit both birds and people. But, incorrectly built or maintained houses either will not be used by birds, or worse, become death traps for nesting birds.