Irish waters are proving increasingly attractive to Marine mammals, including three types of bottlenose dolphin, fin whales, minky whales, and even the iconic blue whale.
We hear how a population of red squirrels is thriving at Fermoy golf club.
And, as it’s Valentine's Day, we look at courtship rituals across the main animal groups.
Eanna Ní Lamha and Richard Collins discuss whether the presence of ivy on a tree make it more prone to blowing over. Paul Whelan, Lichenologist, takes issue with Eanna. He thinks it should be minimised and managed to increase biodiversity.
Dr Simon Berrow is a Lecturer in Marine Biology at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology in Galway, and is also with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.
In the North Atlantic there are maybe 12,000 humpback whales. In the same area there are probably 20,000 fin whales and 20,000 minky whales. We probably know more about the humpback whales than any other. They are normally identified by their tail and dorsal fin
Pictures below are of a humpback whale called Dutchie. It was recorded first in May, 2009 by Connor Ryan, who photographed it off the coast of Ireland. The following December it was recorded in the Netherlands. Then in late 2012, in Northern Norway. That is an incredible journey for a humpback whale.
Images of match of Dutchie to Tromso, we identified it from Ireland to the Netherlands by barnacle scars on its head and its dorsal fin as it didn't fluke in Ireland.
Associate Professor and Head of Zoology at Trinity, Nicola Marples explains how biologists from Trinity College Dublin have shown that individuals with very different, ingrained approaches to trying new foods are influenced by the presence and actions of rivals eating those same new foods.
Through a combination of genetic hard-wiring and environmental influences, animals in a given population conform to one of two foraging strategies. However, it seems with chicks – as sometimes with young children – that imitation goes hand in hand with development.
Nicola also discusses animal courtship which can be wild, wacky and even romantic. Animals will dance, strut and sometimes even fight for their true love. They will sing, bellow and offer things to eat. They change colors, leave scented notes and build homes to attract and win over a suitable partner.
In the animal world, it is usually the boys that are trying to impress the girls and courtship isn't limited to one particular species. Mammals have many diverse and often affectionate ways of courting their prospective mates, but it's birds, reptiles and even insects that have some very unusual ways of wooing their mates.
Love is in the air and traditionally St. Valentine’s Day is the day in which the robin chooses its mate. Well, for the much larger Rook, it happens a lot earlier in the year!
Eddie Drew runs Copsewood Aviaries in Kilmacanogue, Co. Wicklow and he has a pair of ravens for a number of years now. They have bred successfully for three years and are presently nest building and eggs should be laid in the next week or two. The aviary is open to the public at weekends and there is a wide variety of birds on show and for sale.
BBC presenter Chris Packham is a guest on MOONEY Goes Wild today. And he tells us about one of the most remarkable birds he has ever encountered. A Crow solving a complex, eight-stage puzzle, demonstrating its extraordinary intelligence. Take a look at the video below:
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
Presenter: Derek Mooney