Eric Dempsey tells Derek about the butchers of the bird world who catch their prey by impaling them on thorns. We hear about research carried out in Trinity College Dublin which reveals that the legs and wings of insects wear out over time. And Katriona McFadden goes to Westport to meet the people creating a landscape where you can literally eat all you can see!
Over the course of the first six hours of Sunday morning (May 5th), we were treated to the beautiful sound of Ireland's birds, from Cuskinny Marsh in Cobh to the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin. Here are just some of the highlights...
Our men in Cuskinny Marsh: Terry Flanagan, Jim Wilson & Derek Mooney!
Click here to see our guide to the Dawn Chorus.
There’s a lovely picture on the front page of today’s Irish Times of a male Southern White Rhinocerous calf which was born on April 26th in Dublin zoo. Ashanti is the mother and at this stage we don’t know the name of the calf. Derek chats to Richard and Eanna about how the Southern White Rhinocerous was once in danger of extinction, but is actually doing rather well now...
Ashanti with her baby son
Eric Dempsey, from Birds of Ireland News Service, is in studio today to tell us about a very unique family of birds – the Shrike – and how they catch their prey, impale them on a bush and store them there for future dinners!
Our blue tit family have returned to Derek's garden! The female is currently building her nest in the nestbox, and will - we hope! - be moving in soon to lay her eggs. Click here to view the NestWatch webcam, and find out much more about the Blue Tit!
The Blue Tit nestbox in Derek's garden
The female Blue Tit inside the nestbox
They are the super heroes of the insect world, an evolutionary marvel with incredible powers. Insects like locusts, iron clad beetles and cockroaches are made of a wonder material which allows them to fly across oceans, survive in deserts, leap incredible heights and also to make sounds like these.
Crickets chirp not by rubbing their legs, but by rubbing their wings together at a rate of 62 chirps per minute on average!
Their wings are made of cuticle and it is this material which Dr Jan-Henning Dirks has been poring over to unearth the secrets of this powerful building block of nature...
Dr. Jan-Henning Dirks is group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart; he has published a research article in association with Eoin Parle and David Taylor from Trinity College, and he joins us on the line from Stuttgart today...
Two regular listeners from Clondalkin, Jim and Pat Connell, decided to put a nest box and camera in their garden a number of years ago.
Sadly, the box remained empty - no takers for a comfortable new home – and disappointment all round in the Connell household. –
Until this year, that is, when a nesting pair decided to take up residence. And not just any old pair of birds – what they’ve got is a pair of Ireland's smallest tits, Coal Tits.
Jim and Pat invited Terry Flanagan out to share their excitement...
And a wildlife photographer in Derry recently watched as Coal tits appeared to try in vain to revive a dead bird.
Christine Cassidy was looking out the window of her home and saw a bird lying dead on her patio. The bird was then joined by two others, who tried to revive it...
In the past few days, in two entirely different locations, the first white-tailed eagles chicks have hatched in Ireland for the first time in over one hundred years! Ronan Hannigan is Chairman of the Golden Eagle Trust, and joins Derek with more details of the new arrivals!
Click here for more details about the new chicks...
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.
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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 www.irishwildlifematters.ie