Monday, May 3, 2010

Finland - flying squirrel and a woodpecker 26.3.2010

These two special postal items were issued on 26th March this year to highlight Finland’s birds and the famous flying Squirrel. The first is a letter-card that shows the famous

Flying Squirrel in Nuuksio National Park. Flying Squirrels live in the boreal mixed-wood forests of North America and Eurasia. The distribution of the species found in Finland, the Siberian Flying Squirrel (Pteromys volans), is from Finland and the Baltic countries towards east until the Pacific Ocean. The Flying Squirrel is strictly protected by both the Finnish and the European Union legislation. It is threatened by destruction of its habitats.The population in Nuuksio is one of the densest Flying Squirrel populations found in Finland. There are almost 200 places, where they live. That’s why it has been chosen the emblem species of the National Park. The Flying Sqirrel is smaller that the ordinary Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) and it weighs about 130-160 grams. The male is a little lighter than the female, but they look similar in size. The body of the Flying Squirrel is about 15-20 cm and the tail 9-14 cm long. The hair is grey round the year, and the back is darker than the front. The Flying Squirrel has big, black eyes, and that’s why it can see well in the dark. It mostly moves about by gliding from trees, using a flap of loose skin that connects its back and front limbs. It can glide up to 75 metres.

The maxi card is about the Woodpecker. Woodpeckers of Finland. In Greek and Roman mythology, Picus was a man turned into a woodpecker by the fabled sorceress Circe. His crime? He scorned her love. His wife was Canens, a nymph, and she killed herself after Picus was transformed. Picus became the god of fortune and prophecy. The fact that Finland is located in the coniferous forest zone means that there are good chances of seeing many of the northern forest species. Of the game birds, the Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Hazel Hen, Willow Grouse and Ptarmigan are frequently to be seen, and of the woodpeckers one finds the Grey-headed, Three-toed, White-backed and Black varieties. There are ten species of woodpecker Picidae that breed in Europe: nine resident species and the migratory Wryneck. Eight of these ten species also occur outside Europe, with the distribution of Three-toed, White-backed, Lesser Spotted, Great Spotted, Black and Grey-headed Woodpeckers stretching eastwards from the western Palearctic region into Asia.
Thank you Ella for these lovely items.

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