Mooney Goes Wild

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    Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday May 29th 2016


    On Mooney Goes Wild tonight

    The Great Spotted Woodpecker is alive and well in Wicklow’s woodlands, having been extinct in this country for several hundred years; we travel to the Garden County to catch a glimpse of this fascinating bird, known for its distinctive drumming...

    We explore a new book that encourages children of all ages to open their eyes to the wonders of Irish nature: Fachtna Ó Drisceoil and Dr. Richard Collins review Naturama...

    And reporter Terry Flanagan heads off on a boat to Ireland’s Eye, as we continue to explore the richness of nature in our capital during Dublin City Council’s Biodiversity Month.


    The Wicklow Woodpecker

    The wonderful sound of the Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming in Spring is alive once again across large parts of Co Wicklow.  Its return is most welcome, as these woodland lovers became extinct in this country several hundred years ago, with the huge clearances of our great native forests. 

    About twelve years ago, birdwatchers were amazed to discover that this bird had come back, under its own steam, from Wales.   It’s now been successfully breeding in the Garden County for a number of years, and even appears to be spreading further west.  During the week, Richard Collins travelled to the Garden County, to Kilmacanogue, to meet Don McGrane (pictured left), a listener who contacted the show to say that he has a Great Spotted Woodpecker in his garden...

    Great Spotted Woodpecker

    Great Spotted Woodpecker

    For more information about Ireland's woodpecker population, visit BirdWatch Ireland's information page on the species.



    Feeding the ducks in the park, collecting seashells along the shore or sowing seeds in a yoghurt pot and watching the flowers grow - such simple things to us, but young children are amazed as they begin to discover the incredible world of nature.  So we were delighted when a new book recently arrived on our desk, with beautiful illustrations of foxes, rabbits, frogs, butterflies and  ladybirds on the cover.  It’s so inviting and whether you’re a child or an adult, you just can’t resist opening the pages and getting stuck in.  The title is Naturama: Open Your Eyes To The Wonders Of Irish Nature, written by Michael Fewer and illustrated by Melissa Doran.  Whilst Derek was leafing through the pages recently, one of our colleagues, Fachtna Ó Drisceoil from RnaG, happened to be passing by and stopped to take a look too, and promptly fell in love with it!  This evening, we find out exactly what Fachtna, his five-year-old son Mac Dara, and Richard Collins, think of Naturama...

    Naturama: Open Your Eyes To The Wonders Of Irish Nature, by Michael Fewer with illustrations by Melissa Doran, is printed by Gill Books.  The ISBN is 9780717169801 and the RRP is €22.99.  For more information about the book, click here.

    And we have TWO copies of Naturama: Open Your Eyes To The Wonders Of Irish Nature to give away!  Entry to this competition is by e-mail only.  To be in with a chance of winning, just answer this question:

    'Madra Rua' or 'Sionnach' are both Irish names for which animal?

    E-mail your answer, with your name and address, to  Close of receipt for entries is next Thursday, June 2nd 2016, at 23:59.  Good luck everybody!


    DCC Biodiversity: Ireland's Eye

    As Dublin City Council have designated May as ‘Biodiversity Month’, Terry Flanagan continues his series of reports highlighting and promoting the Biodiversity within the confines of our capital city.  This week we travel to Ireland’s Eye, an island, one mile out from Howth Harbour and visited by thousands of Dubliners every summer.

    Mark Doyle and his family have been ferrying tourists to the islands for generations to see an array of interesting plants and animals.  The bird life on the island is really stunning, with large numbers of nesting gulls and more recently, nesting gannets.

    Birds Of Island's Eye

    But there’s also a huge interest in the plant life there.  Recently our reporter, Terry Flanagan, headed off with with Maria Long of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) and Dublin Bay Biosphere co-ordinator, Dr. Jenny Roche, to spend a day on the island...

    To find out more about the BSBI, click here, and for further information about the Dublin Bay Biosphere, 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.

    UPDATE: February 29th 2016 - Press Release From BirdWatch Ireland:

    Putting the record straight: Dates for burning and hedge-cutting have NOT changed

    BirdWatch Ireland, Ireland’s largest conservation charity, is very concerned about misinformation that is currently circulating regarding the dates within which the burning of vegetation and cutting of hedges is permitted.  It would like to remind landowners that all burning and cutting must cease on 29th February this year and that burning and cutting remains prohibited from 1st March to 31st August.

    Despite attempts by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D., to change the laws regulating these dates by introducing the Heritage Bill 2016 earlier this year, it is important to note that the proposed date changes were ultimately NOT made.  This is because the bill failed to pass through both houses of the Oireachtas before the recent dissolution of the Dáil in advance of the general election.

    The laws in place governing the dates for hedge-cutting and upland burning therefore remain unchanged. The period within which cutting and burning is prohibited are set down in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 (as amended in 2000), which states that:

    (a) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy, during the period beginning on the 1st day of March and ending on the 31st day of August in any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated.
    (b) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing in any hedge or ditch during the period mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection (above).

    The existing law provides exemptions for road safety and other circumstances and should be read carefully to ensure compliance.

    Section 40 of the Wildlife Act exists to protect nesting birds. Many of our upland bird species are in decline and are in danger of extinction in Ireland; amongst them is the Curlew, which has declined by 80%. Many birds which nest in hedgerows into August are also in serious decline, including the endangered Yellowhammer. The changes to the cutting and burning dates which had been proposed in the now-defunct Heritage Bill 2016 would have caused serious impacts to these birds. A petition launched by BirdWatch Ireland in conjunction with several other national conservation organisations to stop these changes attracted more than 16,200 signatures and rising.

    BirdWatch Ireland would also like to advise members of the public that if they see hedges being cut or fires in the uplands on or after 1st March, such activity could be illegal.  In such cases, we would encourage people to contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service ( to report such activity.

    BirdWatch Ireland warmly welcomes the demise of the Heritage Bill 2016 and sincerely hopes that any future administration will consider the importance of Ireland’s natural heritage and will not attempt to reintroduce such a flawed and damaging piece of legislation.

    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

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