The following information is meant to help you build birdhouses suitable for Alaskan birds. More information on birdhouses can be found at your local library or bookstore. Birds that nest in cavities are the only ones attracted to nest boxes. In Alaska, 30 bird species nest in cavities, and 21 of these will use birdhouses. Excepting Snow Buntings, which nest in natural and man_made cavities in tundra areas, most cavity_nesting birds prefer to nest in holes in trees.
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."