The robin, not the turkey, is the real Christmas bird; you'll find him on cards, cakes and Christmas trees. But is Robin Redbreast having us on? Is he really the friendly and gentle little fellow he seems? Does he deserve his special Christmas place? Dr. Richard Collins, scientific adviser to Mooney Goes Wild, investigates! To read more about this special documentary, and to listen to the programme, click here.
On Mooney today...
The Irish obsession with the weather continues, as we review 9000 years of Irish weather patterns. We meet the Frenchman who hunts bugs, Michel Dugon. And we hear how honeybees can help with mental health issues, including the fight against depression...
Mooney has teamed up with the Sunday World (www.sundayworld.com) to give one very special couple a second honeymoon! We are looking for Ireland's favourite couple - and that couple could win a dream trip to San Francisco, worth a whopping €10,000!!!
Grab a copy of this Sunday's Sunday World, on November 10th, when the competition will be launched, and you'll be able to find out how you can enter!
The ninth concert in our hugely popular series of Mooney Tunes will be a variety Christmas concert with various singers and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. Listeners requests will be read out and their songs will be played. There will be love songs, songs you will sing along to, beautiful classical music and lots of Christmassy tunes to get you in the festive mood a week before Christmas!
The Mooney Tunes concerts have been extremely successful, and tickets often sell-out within hours of going on sale.
The benefit of buying the tickets in person at the theatre box office is that there is no service charge to pay. Tickets are priced from €14.50 and go up to €20, €28, €34 and €39.50, depending on where you are sitting.
Tickets are also on sale online from Ticketmaster.ie, Ticketmaster outlets and from the Ticketmaster phonelines:
Tickets bought from Ticketmaster.ie online or on the phone are subject to a 12.5% service charge so, for example, that would make the €14.50 ticket, the cheapest ticket, €16.60. If you buy your tickets in person from a Ticketmaster outlet there will be a €2.50 flat fee service charge, and there is no service charge whatsoever if you buy them in person at the box office here at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre.
But whichever way you choose to get your tickets for Mooney Tunes 9, we suggest that you do it as soon as possible after 3pm, when they go on sale! It's the perfect pre-Christmas concert - but tickets will go early, so get yours as soon as you can to avoid disappointment! For more information about the concert, visit www.bordgaisenergytheatre.ie/index.php/artist/mooney-tunes.
Native Irish Honeybee Annual Conference
Philip McCabe, Ireland's best loved beekeeper, is with us today, and Philip has been on the road quite a bit recently! Not just on the road, but on planes, trains and automobiles all around Europe!
He recently attended the World Beekeeping Conference in Ukraine, and was also in Montenegro exploring, amongst other things, how bees can help with mental health!
He is also in to tell us about the EU wide ban on the use of a certain type of pesticide, neo-nicotinoids (last month, news emerged that the EU ban is being challenged in court by Bayer), and to tell us about the Native Irish Honeybee Annual Conference, which will take place at the Athlone Springs Hotel, Athlone, this Sunday, November 10th.
We humans think we are very clever in many areas, including the controversial area of developing weapons. Whether it's atomic bombs, so-called "smart weapons", or laser-guided missiles.
But if you want real creativity in weaponry, look no further than the animal kingdom. Evolution has given the Mantis shrimp its so-called "fists of death". Or what about the "trap jaw ant", whose lower jaw opens to 180° to capture and crush its prey.
And then, there is the ultimate weapon of destruction. The chemical weapon. The weapon of Venom.
Dr Michel Dugon is an evolutionary biologist in NUI Galway, and he’s also one of Ireland's foremost experts in the whole area of venom. But he is probably best known as presenter of Bug Hunters on RTÉ Two television and RTÉ Junior, and he joins Derek and our wildlife panel in the RTÉ Galway studio today...
Michel Dugon is a participant at Galway Science & Technology Festival, sponsored by Medtronic. The festival runs from next Monday, November 11th, until Sunday, November 24th. Bookings for family shows and workshops are available. For more information about the Festival, visit www.galwayscience.ie. And if you'd like to watch Bug Hunters, you can do so on the RTÉ Player: www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/10209543.
We were speaking about ash dieback disease a couple of weeks ago with Eanna ni Lamhna. Ash dieback is a fungal disease which affects ash trees, and the Department of Agriculture is currently tackling an outbreak in County Leitrim, which we are keeping an eye on as well.
But ash dieback is not the only fungal disease to affect trees. Mooney Goes Wild reporter Terry Flanagan went to meet listener James Connell, in Celbridge, who has a sycamore tree with a fungal infection. James was worried that it might kill his tree, so Terry went to take a look...
We know it can be gloomy here on this little island. A thousand years ago, the Arabs knew it. They called us The Island Of Perpetual Gloom! And the Romans knew us as Hibernia – the land of Winter.
And the great Greek geographer Strabo - who was born 64 years BC - said we were a pack of cannibalistic savages on account of the lack of food due to the lack of sunlight.
The weather seeps into every part of who we are. In a new book, journalist Damien Corless has put together a narrative of our history through the lens of the weather, and it is quite startling to see how influential it has been on the events that shape us, and he joins us in studio this afternoon...
Looks Like Rain: 9,000 Years Of Irish Weather by Damian Corless is published in hardback by The Collins Press. The ISBN is 978-1-84889-1814, and the price is €14.99. It's available in all good bookshops and from www.collinspress.ie.
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 (www.npws.ie) 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 www.irishwildlifematters.ie