Mooney Goes Wild

    Sunday, 10pm-11pm, RTÉ Radio 1

    Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday February 7th 2016


    Mooney Goes Wild

    Derek Mooney and guests explore the natural world in all its forms.

    Mooney Goes Wild: All About Crows

    The crow is a bird that is loved and loathed in equal measure.  Collectively known as a murder of crows, they are birds strongly associated with death.  In Hindusim, crows are believed to be ancient ancestors, Ovid saw the crow as a bringer of rain, and here in Ireland, the banshee often took the form of a crow. So what's the real deal with these corvids?  Derek Mooney presents a special programme from the Mooney Goes Wild team called All About Crows...

    In this programme, Derek travels to Leap in County Cork, to learn firsthand about their Scarecrow Festival; there, he talks to Kathleen Woumans and Rita Ryan, from the Leap Development Committee...

    Kathleen Woumans, Leap Development Committee

    Rita Ryan, Leap Development Committee

    One of the scarecrows in Leap

    To see more of the scarecrows, click here to read this Irish Examiner article.

    From Leap, Derek travelled to Kilbeggan, in Co. Westmeath, where he met Richard Collins and his family, who were observing a battle between crows and starlings.

    Derek then met Gabrielle Davidson, a post-doctoral researcher at University College Cork, who studies cognition in birds, especially corvids...

    Gabrielle Davidson; photo courtesy of

    A raven is another member of the crow family.  It’s long been known how intelligent ravens are, and just how sophisticated their behaviour can be - but new research reveals that ravens are ruthless social climbers, sabotaging bonding between other birds who may become future competitors.  The research has been carried out by a team at the University of Vienna’s Department of Cognitive Biology. Dr. Jorg Massen is a senior scientist and member of that team, and he tells Derek more about his research...

    Dr. Jorg Massen; photo courtesy of

    So what are the physical characteristics of crows? Derek met up with Dr. Brendan Kavanagh, Head of Biology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, to find out more...

    Terry Flanagan is our reporter here on Mooney Goes Wild; he travelled to the Murrough beach in County Wicklow, just outside of Wicklow Town, to meet Dr. Steve Newton from BirdWatch Ireland to observe a crow roost.  Another major roost is in Castleconnell in County Limerick, where Derek met up with Paul Moroney.

    Finally, to learn more about the crow's depiction in art and culture, Derek and Richard Collins visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, to find out from museum curator Nienke Bakker about Vincent Van Gogh's celebrated painting Wheatfield With Crows... To find out more about the painting and view it in close detail, click here to visit the website of the museum.

    Richard Collins with Nienke Bakker in front of Wheatfield With Crows by Van Gogh

    About 'Wheatfield With Crows'

    Hedgerows: It is an offence to 'cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy hedgerows on uncultivated land during the nesting season from 1 March to 31 August, subject to certain exceptions'. For more information, click here.

    To contact your local wildlife ranger, click here for contact details. To read the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, click here.


    Please DO NOT send any live, dead or skeletal remains of any creature whatsoever to Mooney Goes Wild.

    If you find an injured animal or bird, please contact the National Parks & Wildlife Service on 1890 20 20 21, or BirdWatch Ireland, on 01 281-9878, or visit

    If you require a CD copy of this programme please e-mail [email protected].  Transfer fees and terms and conditions apply.

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