Mooney, Friday June 21st 2013

Follow Us On Social Media:


Twitter: @naturerte

E-mail Us:

Caring For Wild Animals

Please note that many species of mammals, birds, invertebrates etc... are protected under law and that, even with the best of intentions, only someone holding a relevant licence from the National Parks & Wildlife Service should attempt the care of these animals.  For full details, please click here to read the NPWS Checklist of protected & rare species in Ireland.  If you are concerned about a wild animal, please contact your local wildlife ranger - click here for details.

Events & Listings

Click here for a full list of events taking place around the country, and movies currently on release, which might be of interest to wildlife lovers!

On Mooney today...

Will it be today, could it be tomorrow? We are monitoring the Mooney nestcams, as both Bluetits and swallows prepare to fledge.

Buttercups are abundant at the moment, but should they come with a health warning? We report on a phenomenon called "Buttercup burn", where the chemicals in these flowers prove a major irritant to horses.

And, we uncover the remarkable migration of the Manx Shearwater, travelling up to 20,000 km from Ireland and the UK to South America, and back!

NestWatch 2013

Both the Blue Tit nestlings and Swallow nestlings could fledge at any moment - click here to watch the Blue Tit nestbox and click here to watch the Swallows before they're gone!

 The female Blue Tit removes a fecal sac from one of the nestlings

Angel Sharks

When people think about sharks in Irish waters, the first one that springs to mind tends to be the basking shark. It's magnificent creature, the basking shark. And one of the largest fish in the world's oceans.

The waters around Ireland are actually home to numerous species of shark. But there is one particularly beautiful shark which WAS reasonably plentiful around our coastlines, but is now all but extinct in Irish waters.

Kevin Flannery, Director of Dingle Oceanworld, is in our Cork studio, to tell us all about the wonderful angel shark...


This morning, we received this e-mail from listener Emer O'Shea, with some STUNNING pictures attached!

As we await the arrival of crowds for the promised music and surf extravaganza at SEA SESSIONS in Bundoran, the local wildlife are enjoying their own action on the banks of the river Drowse, a mile away!

And if you have photos that you'd like to share with us all, then e-mail!

Manx Shearwater

Manx Shearwater

One of the most extraordinary sounds of nature has to be that of the raucous chorus of the Manx Shearwater on their nesting islands at night.

The Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) is a very interesting bird. For a while a Manx Shearwater breeding in Northern Ireland was thought to be the oldest-known bird in the wild at 55 years old (at least).

They are an elusive creature too - they nest in rabbit burrows on islands and only emerge under cover of darkness.

And they have a VERY long migration journey each year from Brazil and Argentina to Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England – and back again.

What happens on this ten thousand kilometre leg has always been a bit of a mystery – until now.

Dr Robin Freeman is a Research Fellow at University College London, and he has been figuring out just what the Manx Shearwater gets up to on its migration. He joins Derek and the panel today to explain more from the BBC studios in London...

Buttercup Burn

Buttercup Burn

Because of the cold spring, lots of things are blooming a little later this year, like the buttercup. This year seems to be a bumper year for them!

And although the buttercup is a pretty little wildflower and brightens up our landscape, it should maybe come with a 'health warning'...

The ISPCA notified us this week of a case of "Buttercup Burn" on one of their horses.

It turns out that there is an irritant in the sap of the buttercup which can affect horses with pink or white noses, or white markings.

So to find out more, Mooney reporter Katriona McFadden paid a visit to the affected horse at the ISPCA headquarters in Longford and met Equine Supervisor Cathy Griffin…

Beth, the Buttercup Burn-afflicted horse

If you are interested in fostering or adopting a horse you can contact the ISPCA - their website is

And if you think your horse is suffering from Buttercup Burn, you should take it out of the affected field and contact your vet for advice.

App Article: Crying Wolf (by Richard Collins)

App Article: Crying Wolf (by Richard Collins)

Dr. Richard Collins is the author of this week's app article, in which he tells us all about a bird neighbourhood watch scheme, and the emergency alarms systems they use!

Birds and politicians need to get their messages out while, at the same time, covering their tracks. Openness and transparency are commendable but they have a downside. A bird seeing a cat, for example, wants to warn the neighbours. If it calls out, however, it will draw attention to itself, not a good idea with an enemy on the prowl. Keeping quiet seems the wiser option.

To find out more, download the Mooney app, for iPhone and Android phones, to read the rest of Richard's article, and much more!

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


***Download the Dawn Chorus 2017 podcasts***

Dawn Chorus 2017 - First Hour - 00:00 - 01:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Second Hour - 01:00 - 02:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Third Hour - 02:00 - 03:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Fourth Hour - 03:00 - 04:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Fifth Hour - 04:00 - 05:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Sixth Hour - 05:00 - 06:00



Contact the Show

RTÉ is not responsible for the content of external websites

Presenter: Derek Mooney


Ways to Listen

Radio Player