Friday, December 7th 2012

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On today's Mooney,

We find out how Lionel Messi’s quick decision making is helping neuroscience researchers in Dublin to understand how the brain works, we learn why migrating birds are using lights and gas flares from oil refineries to locate food, and one listener tells us about the family of pine martins that have moved into her bed!

Community Tree Projects Grants Scheme 2013 Launched

If you have an idea for a tree planting project in your community, you may be able to access funding for your project through this new grants scheme. For application forms, and more information about how to apply, visit www.treecouncil.ie. The closing date for receipt of applications is January 20th 2013.

A Shark In Portmarnock?

Two ladies, Anne Dunne and Annette Kiernan, were out for a Sunday morning walk along Portmarnock beach when they came across a dead shark in the water. They took it out to bring home and show the children (one who has a major fear of sharks). They then bring the shark back to Portmarnock, to release it back into the sea. Terry Flanagan reports...


Mr Kiernan (husband of Annette) with the shark

Waxwings

During the programme, listener Al in Tinahely, Co. Wicklow, text us to say that 'eight waxwings were after the berries on our Catoniaster bush last week'.

BirdWatch Ireland would like listeners to let them know that if they see Waxwings, or any other birds in their gardens this winter, they should contact BirdWatch Ireland. The best way to do this is via the annual Garden Bird Survey, which has been running for over twenty years now, and which always gets a great response from Mooney Goes Wild listeners.

They are asking you to keep track of the numbers of each species of bird that visit your garden over a 13-week period: it’s great fun and very simple to do, and the data they receive is extremely useful to them in their bird conservation work.

To take part in the Garden Bird Survey comes to reporting birds, you can download the following PDF document, courtesy of Birdwatch Ireland: Garden Bird Survey article from Wings November 2012

You can also take part by going online to www.birdwatchireland.ie, or if you prefer a paper form, call 01 281-9878 and BirdWatch Ireland can send one out.

NASA's 'Black Marble' Shows World At Night

This week, NASA scientists unveiled an unprecedented new look at our planet at night. A global composite image, constructed using cloud-free night images from a new NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite, shows the glow of natural and human-built phenomena across the planet in greater detail than ever before.

For more information, visit /www.nasa.gov

NASA's view of Ireland at night
NASA's view of Ireland at night

Birds Line Nests With Cigarette Butts As Insect Repellent

There’s a wonderful book on avian architecture by Peter Goodfellow and in it he describes how birds design, engineer and build their nests. Anyone who’s ever seen a bird’s nest will know how intricate they can be. And birds use all sorts of materials for building... plastics, fabrics, string - there are even magpies near us here in RTÉ which use coathangers in the construction of their nests! They get them from the back of a dry cleaners in Donnybrook.

Avian Architecture: How Birds Design, Engineer & Build, by Peter Goodfellow, is published by Princeton University Press; the RRP is approx. €24, and the ISBN is 978-0691148496. For more information, see http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9422.html.

Now you may have heard news reports during the week of birds in Mexico using cigarette butts to line their nests. Dr Constantino Macías García is a researcher from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and joins Derek on the show today to talk about studying birds on the campus in Mexico, and about his discovery...

Benefits Of Light Pollution

What do you normally do at night? Sleep, work, feed your baby? Those behaviours are quite similar to the animal world. Night tells animals when to eat, when to sleep, when to hunt and when to reproduce. And it’s estimated that about half of all life on earth start their daily activities at night.

But in 1840, everything changed when British Chemist Warren de la Rue decided to improve on the existing oil lamps and invent the world’s first lightbulb. 40 years later Thomas Edison patented and improved it – and suddenly night could turn into day with the flick of a switch.

We humans were able to distinguish day from night in this ‘Bright New World’ - but many animals found it much harder, and it’s fair to say that artificial light has had a broadly negative effect on wildlife in the last century or so. So we were interested to read a study from the UK that shows that artificial light at night can actually benefit certain creatures!

Professor Stuart Bearhop is the Chair of Animal Ecology in the University of Exeter and joins Derek today from the BBC Cornwall Studio in Truro...

How the Brain Makes Decisions

The brain is the least understood of all of the body's organs. In fact, our exploration how the brain works is only in its infancy. But researchers at Trinity College in Dublin are at the forefront of this type of research - specifically, research into how our brains go about processing information and making decisions. For more, Derek is joined by Dr. Redmond O’Connell, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at TCD.

Bewley's Christmas Competition - Close Of Entries TODAY!

Do you love Christmas dinner with the family, but hate the thought of all that scrubbing, peeling, stuffing ... not to mention all the piles of washing up afterwards! Ever wished that the magic fairy would just come and take away all the stress and hassle of making Christmas lunch, letting you concentrate on just relaxing and enjoying the meal? Well, this Christmas, let Mooney and Bewley's Hotels make your Christmas wish come true! We have the most fabulous competition for one lucky family - and all we want you to do is to tell us why you deserve to be our special winning family!

Baubles

Not only will our winning family win their Christmas dinner at the stunning Bewley's hotel in Ballsbridge, their prize will also include three nights' accommodation for all the family (two adults and up to three children) on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St. Stephen's Day, breakfast on the three mornings, a 3-course dinner on Christmas Eve and St. Stephens's Day, a €100 One4All shopping voucher for each family member, and tickets to one of several great family activities (choosing one of the following: Leopardstown Races, Funderland, Iskate at the RDS, tickets for A Family Christmas Show).

What you need to do:

E-mail mooney@rte.ie or write to us (Mooney, RTÉ Radio Centre, Donnybrook, Dublin 4), and tell us why you - or someone you love - deserves to have the Christmas you deserve, but with none of the stress associated with it - why do you deserve a little extra TLC and pampering this Christmas? You'll have to hurry though, as entries must be received by 6pm TODAY! Don't forget your contact details!! If you would like more details about this offer, and all the other great deals that Bewley's have this Christmas, visit www.bewleyshotels.com/ballsbridge/christmas.

The Island Landscape

RTÉ Television, in association with Mooney, is currently producing a major new documentary series on the history of the Irish landscape. The series will tell the story of how our landscape was created after the last major climatic event – the end of the last Ice Age, over ten thousand years ago.  And we want your help! Would you like to contribute video towards the TV series? Click here to find out what we're looking for!

Today's Podcasts

Community Tree Projects Grants Scheme 2013 Launched
The Portmarnock Shark
Birds Line Nests With Cigarette Butts As Insect Repellent
Benefits Of Light Pollution
How The Brain Makes Decisions

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