(10) The Koukunniemi Woodpecker Forest

The Koukunniemi Woodpecker Forest is a private nature reserve area, which was created to support the protection of the white-backed woodpecker, which has been designated the provincial bird of Päijänne Tavastia. The white-backed woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos) is a highly endangered species. A few years ago, only about 50 pairs were observed in Finland. Now the group has been somewhat strengthened by the migration of woodpeckers from the east.
The white-backed woodpecker lives in old deciduous and mixed forests. Rotten trees are important for the woodpecker because it feeds on insects found in them. Intensive forestry and the scarcity of old, rotten standing or fallen trees have made the bird rare. The white-backed woodpecker is somewhat bigger than the ordinary great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) and the lower part of its back is clearly white. Around the Ekonkoski rapid also nests the fairly-rare lesser spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor), and with the exception of one, all woodpeckers living in Finland can be seen there: three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus), grey-headed woodpecker (Picus canus) and black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius).



The black woodpecker is the biggest woodpecker in Finland; many other birds nest in holes made by it.




The great spotted woodpecker is the most common woodpecker in Finland; note the white mark on its black wing!




As its name tells, the back of the white-backed woodpecker is white. Note also the white stripes on its wings that help to distinguish it from great spotted woodpecker.



The lesser spotted woodpecker is clearly smaller than the white-backed woodpecker, which it resembles in coloring.