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.
Use galvanized nails, as these will not rust. Birdhouses need not be painted, but the box may last longer if you paint the outside. Never paint the inside of a birdhouse. If you paint the outside, use dull (not bright or glossy) colors that blend in with the surroundings. Nest boxes that don't match the vegetation may be easier for predators to find.