Mooney Goes Wild

    Sunday, 10pm-11pm, RTÉ Radio 1

    Mooney, Friday April 4th 2014

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    Mooney

    Derek Mooney with his unique mix of conversation, information, advice and entertainment

    On Mooney Goes Wild today...

    We go around the country investigating listener stories about their local wild birds: raptors in County Kerry, thrushes in Louth, and chickens in County Cork. And it seems that butterflies are thriving again, as the Irish butterfly monitoring scheme records 66,000 butterflies across 33 species - a one third increase in just one year! Plus - is it a goat, is it a sheep? No, it's a geep! We find out about one Kildare farmer's unusual hybrid, and invite your names for it!

    National Dawn Chorus Day

    National Dawn Chorus Day will take part on Sunday, May 18th 2014.  If you are part of a group who will be taking part in a Dawn Chorus event in your local area, and want to register your event with us, please send full details - name, contact number, what will be happening and where, to mooney@rte.ie, with the subject line 'Dawn Chorus 2014'. And who knows, we may contact you during our Dawn Chorus broadcast!

    Where will you be on National Dawn Chorus Day?

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    The Kildare 'Geep'

    There is an interesting story doing the rounds about a strange hybrid born in County Kildare - a hybrid between a sheep and a goat. Apparently, people are wondering whether to call it a "geep" or a "shoat" - and if you have any other creative suggestions, by all means e-mail us - mooney@rte.ie

    The 'geep' (if we can call it that), was born two weeks ago to farmer Paddy Murphy of Ballymore Eustace, County Kildare.

    Now, when we first heard this story, we thought this might be an April fool's joke. But apparently, it's not!

    Most people out there might think it's impossible for two different species to mate! Isn't that part of the definition of a "species" as opposed to a "breed"? Different breeds of dog, in other words, can mate. But different species? Surely not?

    Eanna ni Lamhna and Richard Collins have been investigating!

    Paddy granted an interview to the Irish Farmer's Journal, which you can view by clicking here.

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    Reenascreena's Electric Chicken!

    On Monday of this week, we received an e-mail from Reenascreena National School in Roscarberry in County Cork. The School Principal, Jean Dignan, wrote to us to tell us about their electric chicken! What’s an electric chicken? We wondered that too, so we sent Jim Wilson along to Roscarberry to find out...

    The pupils of Reenascreena National School

    The chickens at Reenascreena

    The chickens at Reenascreena

    For more information about the school, visit their website: school.reenascreena.com.

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    Raptor Conservation

    Yet another White-Tailed Sea Eagle was deliberately killed a couple of weeks ago. But there is some hope! Organisations like BirdWatch Ireland and their conservation partners are working tirelessly to improve the 'street cred' of raptors or 'birds of prey'.

    The 'Raptor Conservation Project', run by BirdWatch Ireland, has been visiting primary schools in raptor-rich areas to educate the next generation about the importance of birds of prey.

    John Lusby, Raptor Officer with BirdWatch Ireland, and Susan O'Donohue from The Heritage Council, are the duo who have been giving the talks. Mooney reporter Katriona McFadden caught up with them in Killahan National School in County Kerry, as John was handing out some wings...

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    Irish Butterfly Population Increases

    It has been a good year for Irish butterflies - the Irish butterfly population increased by almost a third last year! How do we know this you might ask? Who is going around counting the butterflies of Ireland? One of those who is monitoring Irish butterfly numbers is Dr. Tomás Murray, an ecologist with the National Biodiversity Data Centre and project co-ordinator with the Irish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, and he joins us in studio today!

    For more information on the Irish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, click here, or click here to download a free Android app for identifying and reporting Irish butterflies. And for more information on Irish butterflies, visit www.irishbutterflies.com.

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    Nesting Mistle Thrush

    Over the last few weeks, our inbox has been bulging with e-mails and pictures from all over the country, mainly of different species of birds. It's brilliant to see how passionate so many of our listeners are about Ireland's birdlife. And as always, Mooney Goes Wild is very happy to be a partner in developing those passions!

    So over the last week, we decided to get some of our reporters out and about, around the country, visiting some of the people who have contacted the show by text, by e-mail, or by phone.

    One such listener is Deanna McGuinness, from County Louth. She has a mistle thrush nesting on the window ledge of her spare bedroom.

    Niall Hatch, Development Officer with from BirdWatch Ireland, is in the house in Louth at the moment, with Deanna to explain more...

    And Derek talks to Mooney reporter Brenda Donohue and her young son Harvey about the two nests in her garden, which we believe belong to some blackbirds...

    Eurovision Green Room Party

    Join Mooney in our Eurovision Green Room at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on Saturday, May 10th 2014. The party takes place in the Circle Club.

    If you want to be there, all you have to do is tell us in not more than forty words why you and a friend or friends LOVE the Eurovision. All entrants/attendees must be over 18. If you are lucky enough to receive a golden invitation to our EUROVISION GREEN ROOM you will get to see all the action as it happens live from Copenhagen.

    • Tickets will be allocated to couples and groups of four people.
    • All attendees must make their own way to and from the venue.
    • There is no cash alternative to this prize.
    • Closing date for receipt of entries is April 25th 2014
    • Usual RTE terms and conditions apply.

    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.

    IMPORTANT NOTICE

    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

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