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...
With news of the Queen marking the level of bowls of nuts left around Buckingham Palace, Derek explores the relationship of rich people and their money. We find out how sunshine has been brought to a lightless town in Norway with strategically placed mirrors. And Mooney launches a competition to find an Irish gospel group to support the Grammy-award winning The Blind Boys Of Alabama!!
To find out how to care for and attract garden birds, read Jim Wilson's Guide To Garden Birds - CLICK HERE!
The Norwegian Mirror Town
Last week, Derek visited Tysfjord in the north-west of Norway on the trail of Orcas (killer whales). Unfortunately he didn't quite get to see any, as the boat trip was cancelled. But what he did get to see was the light shining bright on the town square in Rjukan.
Tysfjord in the North-West of Norway
The Tysfjord Turistsenter Hotel, Tysfjord - base camp for the killer whale trip
The closest Derek got to the killer whales was this life size replica hanging on the hotel dining room!
Killer whale mural in hotel lounge
The valley town of Rjukan receives no direct sunlight between the months of September to March every year. In October 2013, three giant mirrors were erected on the mountains to track the sun and reflect sunlight onto the town square.
Rjukan is located in the centre of Norway
Locals of the valley town of Rjukan, Norway, waiting for the giant mirrors on the mountains to reflect sunlight onto the town square.
Giant mirrors reflect sunlight from the mountains onto the town
Just before Christmas, it emerged in the hacking trial in Britain that no less a person than Queen Elizabeth II might be a tad miserly... For a woman who's said to be worth 44 billion pounds sterling to be marking a line on bowls of nuts to discourage palace staff from scoffing them does sound mean. But she’s not the only rich and famous person to have a reputation for being a bit of a scrooge.
Eoin Murphy is the Entertainment Editor of the Irish Daily Mail. He’s been looking at some other interesting cases of people being tight with the green stuff, and he's in studio with Derek today with some more examples of tight celebs...
They say the best way to learn a foreign language is to speak it. Well, how about throwing yourself in at the deep end? That’s what many who attend the Irish Language Exchange do.
You see, it’s set up like speed dating. You are assigned a table on arrival, opposite a native speaker of the language you are hoping to learn. You begin by speaking English for five minutes and then another language for five minutes and then move on to the next table.
This way of improving your language skills is proving very popular and last Thursday, Brenda went along to one of the exchange evenings... The languages spoken at the Exchange are: Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, Chinese, Polish, and English.
Brenda with Brian Heavey, the Director of Language Exchange Ireland
The Spanish-English Exchange
The Spanish-English Exchange
The Spanish-English Exchange
The Language Exchange meets every Monday at 6.30pm in Dtwo (60 Harcourt St, Dublin 2) and every Thursday at 6.30pm in the Turk’s Head (27 Parliament St, Dublin 2).
Would you like to perform in the National Concert Hall as support act for gospel legends The Blind Boys of Alabama as well as on RTÉ Radio 1’s Mooney?
Mooney and Waltons World Masters Series are offering one lucky group the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do just that!
The Waltons World Masters Series welcomes The Blind Boys of Alabama back to Dublin and the National Concert Hall on Wednesday, May 21st 2014. Ireland has its own great tradition of gospel music, and one very special aspect of this concert is that the support act will be an Irish gospel choir/group selected by the third nationwide Waltons World Masters Gospel Competition, in association with the Mooney and RTÉ Radio 1! The winning choir/group will perform a 40-minute set before The Blind Boys take to the stage.
All Irish gospel choirs/groups are welcome to enter.
After all entries are received, a shortlist of three finalists will be chosen by a jury made up of representatives from Waltons New School of Music and RTÉ Radio 1. The finalists will be announced and their recordings broadcast on the Mooney on Thursday, April 10th. Their entries will then be sent to The Blind Boys of Alabama, who will select the overall winner.
The winning choir/group will be announced on the Mooney on Thursday, May 1st, perform on Mooney on a date to be announced, and perform in the National Concert Hall as support act for the Blind Boys of Alabama on Wednesday, May 21st.
The winning choir/group will be responsible for their own transport to/from the venue, as well as accommodation (if required). The group will receive five pairs of tickets to the concert for guests, but there will be no monetary remuneration.
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