Mooney Goes Wild

    Sunday, 10pm-11pm, RTÉ Radio 1

    Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday April 26th 2015


    On Mooney Goes Wild tonight...

    We try to identify one listener's mystery bird recording, Jim Wilson previews the 2015 Dawn Chorus, Dr. Lauren Brent on why whales and women go through the menopause, and Terry Flanagan goes investigating newts in Co. Kilkenny!


    Mooney Goes Wild - Programme Podcast 26/04/15

    Visit for full details on all the items discussed on tonight's show!

    Preview Of Dawn Chorus 2015

    We start off the show this evening with an e-mail from listener James, who has asked us to identify a mystery bird that he can hear outside his house. His mystery bird is a snipe:

    And if you have a mystery bird that you would like us to identify, please send your recording to!

    On Sunday week, May 3rd, just as the world is heading for the land of nod, our airwaves will be coming alive to the beautiful sounds of birdsong as we celebrate the magical phenomenon known as the Dawn Chorus. From midnight until 6am, here on RTÉ Radio 1, Derek will be broadcasting live from Cuskinny Marsh Nature Reserve in Co. Cork.

    Male Blackbird (photo by Ken Kinsella)

    In a marathon broadcast, running right through the night, he'll be linking up with a host of reporters in locations all across the country, from Glenveagh National Park in Co. Donegal, to Lough Boora Discovery Park in Co. Offaly, and from the Burren National Park in Co. Clare to Áras an Uachtaráin in Dublin.

    Male Chaffinch (photo by Michael Finn)

    Some of Ireland's leading ornithologists and wildlife experts will be with us including Niall Hatch, Terry Flanagan, Eric Dempsey, Dave Duggan from the National Parks & Wildlife Service, as well as Dr. Richard Collins and Eanna ni Lamhna.

    There’ll also be a chance to hear some wonderful wildlife documentaries.

    Male Reed Bunting (photo by Colum Clarke)

    And for the first time in the programme's 20-year history, we'll be linking up with our colleagues in BBC Radio Ulster, as they carry all six hours of the Mooney Goes Wild Dawn Chorus live across Northern Ireland. We'll have contributions from BBC Radio Ulster presenter Anne Marie McAleese and bird expert Dot Blakely, and this evening Derek catches up with Anne Marie and Dot to look forward to the Dawn Chorus.

    Well, one man who’s been taking part in the Mooney Goes Wild Dawn Chorus pretty much from the start is Cobh’s very own Jim Wilson, an ornithologist, and he joins us now from the RTÉ studios in Cork to tell us more about what we might expect from this extraordinary broadcast...

    Ten years ago, Mooney Goes Wild teamed up with the RTÉ Guide to produce a very special CD celebrating the Dawn Chorus. It was extremely popular, and this week, to mark twenty years of Mooney Goes Wild, we have teamed up once more to give you another chance to hear these remarkable recordings.

    Just buy a copy of the RTÉ Guide (on sale Monday, April 26th), and scan the QR code on the front cover to listen to five tracks which explain the various aspects of the Dawn Chorus!

    And the 20th birthday celebrations continue! Next Friday, May 3rd, Rory Cowan (from Mrs. Brown's Boys), Blathnáid ni Chofaigh, and others will officially unveil a new audio-visual installation at Cork Airport, where visitors will be able to read about and listen to the songs of the Dawn Chorus. So if you are in the Cork area next Friday, the launch will take place in the main entrance hall at 11:30am - we're looking forward to meeting you there!


    The Newts Of Gowran

    Everyone in Ireland is familiar with the frog, so much so that it’s called the Common Frog. But did you know that there are two other amphibians living in Ireland - the Natterjack Toad and the Smooth Newt? Unfortunately, they’re much rarer.

    But if there was ever a good time of the year to observe the newt, then this is it! You can see them in garden ponds as they set about mating. They can reach up to 10cm in length and at this time of year they can easily be told apart.

    Liam Lysaght from Gowran in Co. Kilkenny got in touch with us to say that newts are positively thriving in his ponds, and he invited us to visit, so we sent reporter Terry Flanagan off to take a look...

    To read the Irish Wildlife Trust's study into the distribution of the Smooth Newt in Ireland, click here.


    Why Do Whales Go Through The Menopause?

    Did you know that just like most women, female killer whales stop giving birth by their forties and then go on to experience the menopause?  They can then live on until they reach their nineties. This is unlike females of most species who keep having babies until they die, which is part of the evolutionary drive to spread their genes as widely as possible. In fact, only female humans, short-finned pilot whales, and resident killer whales are known to go through the menopause.

    But what’s the evolutionary reason why these female whales continue to live long after their fertility has ended? And what is the purpose of the menopause?

    Southern Resident Killer (Orca) Whales

    To try and figure this out, Dr. Lauren Brent (pictured) and her colleagues at the University of Exeter undertook a nine-year study of orca or killer whales off Vancouver Island in Canada – and Lauren joins us from BBC Devon in Exeter to explain more... To learn more about the University of Exeter study, click here, and to read the study Ecological Knowledge, Leadership, And The Evolution Of Menopause In Killer Whales, click here.

    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 or click here for RTÉ Archives sales form. Transfer fees and terms and conditions apply.

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    Presenter: Derek Mooney

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