Use the proper materials. Wood is the best material for birdhouses. Other materials (like metal or plastic) may not insulate the nest enough, so eggs or young could become chilled in cold weather or overheated in warm, sunny weather. Use rough_cut wood slabs, tree sections, or 3ǚ_inch plywood. Never use creosote_treated wood as creosote may kill the eggs or chicks.
Snags with old woodpecker holes provide homes for swallows, chickadees, nuthatches, bluebirds, owls, and other cavity_nesting birds that are rarely able to excavate their own nest sites. Snags provide ideal hunting perches for Red_tailed and Rough_legged Hawks, Bald Eagles, Hawk Owls, Great_horned Owls, and other raptors. Snags provide "songposts" to a wide variety of birds. Many small birds use songposts sticking above other vegetation to sing (to attract mates and proclaim nesting territory boundaries) and to perch on when looking out for predators and/or other birds.