Marty Morrissey with his unique mix of conversation, information, advice and entertainment
We report on a new citizen-science initiative, aiming to monitor the health of our rocky shore animals, key indicators of rising sea and air temperatures. Hedgehogs are waking up after a long hibernation. But what can you do to help them recover the 30% body fat they lost over the winter period? And we visit the newly-refurbished Airfield Trust, in Dublin 14, where young urban children are introduced to the joys of rural life!
Last week on the programme we spoke to the man responsible for counting how many butterflies in Ireland. Dr. Tomás Murray is an ecologist with the National Biodiversity Data Centre. And he told us how using "citizen scientists" around the country helped him get very valuable data about butterfly populations.
This afternoon, we are joined from the RTÉ Galway studio by Dr Louise Firth, Lecturer in Zoology at NUI Galway. She is also looking for citizen scientists. But she wants them to count the sea urchins and limpets and barnacles in all the rock pools and crevices around the shores of the West of Ireland....
We had an interesting e-mail to the programme recently from Deirdre Ní Cinnéide. Deirdre lives on Aran Mór and recently she has had the experience of seeing not one, but three pheasants fly into the gable end wall of her house.
Was this just a coincidence, or is there something more sinister at play? We sent our reporter, Terry Flanagan, off to meet Deirdre to see could he could help solve this problem...
We're delighted to be joined in studio today by a good friend of Mooney Goes Wild: Philip McCabe. And alongside Philip is a young man who may well be taking his place over the coming years as our resident expert on all things bee-related.
His name is Jordan O'Neill, he's from Dundalk, Co Louth, and he has just turned 16 years of age. Jordan is one of Ireland's leading young beekeepers, and is are hoping to go to the International Meeting of Young Beekeepers in Poland...
After two years of extensive renovations, the Airfield farm in Dundrum in Dublin opened this week. This 38 acre working farm, gardens, café and heritage experience was first established by the Overend Family in 1974 for educational and recreational purposes.
It offers offer visitors a wonderful opportunity to enjoy and learn about food, farming and the natural world, as Eanna ni Lamhna found out when she went there earlier this week...
She talks to some of those working at Airfield, including Michael Jacob, who guides schoolchildren around the farm, and Eamon Young, who is the farmer at Airfield.
Airfield Awakens, the launch of the newly renovated Airfield, takes place this weekend, April 12th and 13th. There will be special talks, tours and workshops. For more information about Airfield, including maps, prices and opening times, visit http://www.airfield.ie/.
And the good people at Airfield very kindly offered us five family passes for you, our listeners, to the first five people to text us the word 'Airfield'. Thank-you to everybody who entered; our five winners are: Frank Fleming from Glasnevin, Dublin, Lorraine Kelly from Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare, Ronan O’Driscoll from Sutton, Dublin, Therese Meacle from Tullamore, Co. Offaly and Alison Carbally from Wicklow. Congratulations!
It’s the time of year when, with the weather warming up, the hibernation season is at an end and as we speak hedgehogs all over Ireland are on the hunt for food to replace the fat reserves they used up during their long sleep.
On awakening, their need to feed is urgent.
In the UK, the hedgehog population has declined by a third in the last ten years and the RSPB is calling on people to make their gardens as wildlife-friendly as possible and to leave hedgehog-friendly food around for any prickly visitors who may happen by.
Dr Amy Haigh is a Post-Doctorate Researcher in University College Cork. She’s currently studying Red Squirrels on Fota Island, but in 2011 she completed a PHD on the Ecology of the European Hedgehog in Rural Habitats in which she researched habitat use, feeding and courtship behaviour, and she joins us from RTÉ's Cork studio...
What can we do to help the hedgehog? Traditionally we were told to leave out bread and milk but this is NOT the right thing to do...
Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, so that is the worst possible thing for them! Dried cat biscuits are good. WE DO NEED TO FEED THEM. People kill slugs in gardens to protect plants and slugs are natural diet for hedgehogs. Fences and boundaries on gardens make it hard for hedgehogs to move between habitats – it’s a good idea to leave some overgrown areas in gardens for things to happen naturally.
Every week, our e-mail system bulges with questions for our wildlife experts, who do their best to provide advice and identify the photos you send in. But we received a particularly interesting question this week. You may remember that a couple of weeks ago, Derek spoke to Dick Warner about his new TV show, The Park... Well if you were watching that show last Sunday, you will have heard Ferdia Marnell, Head of Ecology with the National Parks & Wildlife Service, talking about the bats that can be found in the park. And if you missed that episode, you can watch it back here: http://www.tv3.ie/3player/show/584/78263/1/The-Park.
Did you catch that at the beginning? 3000 insects? Well one of our listeners, Cathy, was watching and was so intrigued by that, that she sent us this e-mail:
I managed to catch part of the Killarney National Park on the Telly and the Bat-man mentioned that the lesser horse shoe bat consumes approx 3,000 insects per night. I have no reason to disbelieve the chap. However, I am baffled to know what the procedure is that draws this conclusion. How in the name of heavens can that be measured?! I've a few theories as to how this could be done but cannot see these ideas working in practice.
Do you know how they measure this??
Love the show! Regards, Cathy
Well, to tell us how we know about the diet of the Lesser Horse Shoe Bat, we’re joined on the line by Dr Daniel Buckley, a bat specialist working for Scott Cawley ecological consultancy and Chairman of the Irish Wildlife Trust...
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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?
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