Mooney/ Mooney Goes Wild

    Monday-Friday, 3 - 4.30pm

    Mooney Friday 21 November 2014

    On today's programme....

    Listen up for details of BirdWatch Ireland' s Winter Garden Bird survey , which starts on December 1, learn how you can help track the health of our bird population over the cold months ahead.

    And, have you ever wondered why homing pigeons have such incredible navigation skills? Well, it turns out, they may have a gyroscope inbuilt in their brains!

    All on Mooney goes wild, from 3 PM.

    BirdWatch Ireland's Garden Bird Survey kicks off on 1st December


    BirdWatch Ireland's Garden Bird Survey  kicks off on 1st December.  They have been running the survey for over 20 years now, and over that time they have built up a very good picture of the distribution and abundance of Ireland's garden birds, and more importantly of the changes they've experienced over time. 

    They would really like to encourage Mooney show listeners to take part: each year they get literally thousands of listeners sending in their results, and it always proves very popular.

    One of the most frequent responses they get when we ask people to give the survey a go is, "Sure there's no point in me doing it - I have hardly any birds in my garden."  That's all the more reason for people to take part: they need that data, and a negative result is still a result.  Basically, we need to know where the birds aren't, not just where they are.

    They idea of the surevy is to help increase our understanding of bird behaviour over the winter months. Niall Hatch from Bird Watch Ireland is in studio and is looking for your help!

    If you would like to take part in the survey click here

    Swans in Ireland

    Birdwatch Ireland getting an increasing number of reports of Black Swans, originally from Australia, around Ireland over the past year. They must all have escaped from captivity, and some have even begun to breed here: we know that pairs raised chicks in Co. Donegal and perhaps also Co. Dublin in 2014. Niall Hatch tells Derek more.

    There are three species of swan in Ireland:


    The Mute Swan, is found here year-round, but the other two, the Whooper Swan and the Bewick's Swan, are only winter visitors. 


    Whooper Swans, arriving from Iceland, seem to be doing quite well in Ireland


    The Bewick's Swan, from Siberia, is fast disappearing: perhaps only a couple of dozen now visit Ireland, where once we had thousands. 


    Tame Wild Birds


    We received a very interesting e-mail from listener, Bernie Connolly during the week. Bernie’s good friend Linda has managed to tame a pair of wild birds in her back garden and has built up a special relationship with the pair of them over the last five years.

    She has even given them names; - Prionsias and Prunella. Not only that, but she has also written a poem about them, which Bernie sent in to us here on the programme.

    Intrigued by this friendship, we sent our reporter, Terry Flanagan, off to Clontarf to find out more

    Return of the Wolf

    According to researchers wolves have returned to Denmark for the first time in 200 years. When wolves last roamed wild in Denmark, Napoleon was still terrorising Europe and the Battle of Waterloo had yet to be fought. But now a team of researchers say they have conclusive evidence that wolves have re-established themselves in much of the Jutland peninsula, the part of Denmark that is in mainland Europe, and that at least one male wolf has permanently settled there. Liselotte Wesley Andersen is a senior researcher at Aarhus University and is responsible for verifying the return of the wolf.

    Hedgerows and the Law

    Hedgerows in Ireland form important features in maintaining wildlife diversity and in establishing wildlife "corridors", particularly for birds. The commonest nesting birds found in hedgerows such as wrens, dunnocks, robin and willow warblers depend entirely on insects during the Summer months. In general untrimmed, thorned hedgerows containing species such as blackthorn, whitethorn and holly are favoured by birds as they provide ample food and also serve as a protection against predators.

    Section 40 of the Wildlife Act, 1976, as amended by Section 46 of the 2000 Act, provides protection for hedgerows by providing that it shall be an offence for a person 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. It is important that, where possible, necessary work to hedgerows is carried out outside this period.

    It is possible in most cases to schedule and carry out necessary work to hedgerows outside this period. The legislation makes provision for works (other than road or other construction works) to be carried out for reasons of public health and safety under the authority of any Minister or a body established by statute that lead to the destruction of vegetation. There is also a provision to enable the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government to request from the relevant Minister or body details of any such works together with a statement of the public health and safety factors involved.

    It shall not be an offence to destroy vegetation in the ordinary course of agriculture or forestry. Also it shall not be illegal to destroy vegetation while preparing or clearing a site for lawful building or construction works.

    It is the policy of the Minister to prosecute for offences under section 40 of the Wildlife Acts 1976 and 2000 and successful prosecutions have been taken under this section in recent years. Members of the public are encouraged to contact their local wildlife ranger and report instances where hedgerows are being destroyed during the prohibited period.

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

    To follow us on Twitter, use the handle @MooneyShow.


    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


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    Presenter: Derek Mooney

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