Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday March 26th 2017

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Caring For Wild Animals

Please note that many species of mammals, birds, invertebrates etc... are protected under law and that, even with the best of intentions, only someone holding a relevant licence from the National Parks & Wildlife Service should attempt the care of these animals.  For full details, please click here to read the NPWS Checklist of protected & rare species in Ireland.  If you are concerned about a wild animal, please contact your local wildlife ranger - click here for details.

Events & Listings

Click here for a full list of events taking place around the country, and movies currently on release, which might be of interest to wildlife lovers!

On Mooney Goes Wild tonight...

On Mooney Goes Wild tonight...

As today is Mother’s Day, we celebrate the weird and wonderful maternal instincts of our hoofed, feathered and finned friends in the animal kingdom. Author and journalist Suzanne Campbell road-tests a new nature journal for kids. And Terry Flanagan visits the home of the Ryan family in Cavan, who tell him about the amazing array of wildlife that visit their garden!

Calling All Cuckoos!

Now we have no doubt that all you mammies out there are the epitome of the perfect mother - all-loving, caring, protective and nurturing!  Like so many animals in the natural world, the instinct to protect your children is deep-rooted in your DNA – embedded firmly in your emotional hard-drive.  But first we're looking for a creature that’s unlikely to EVER win the “mother of the year” award - the cuckoo!

Cuckoo; photo: Marcin Karetta / BirdWatch Ireland

Cuckoos are famous for depositing their eggs into host nests and deceiving these unwitting “foster-birds” into raising their chicks for them.  Every year at this time the race is on to be the first person to hear the cuckoo call.  And we want Mooney Goes Wild to be able to claim the accolade this year!  So as soon as you hear the cuckoo sing grab your phone, or any other recording device, and e-mail it to – telling us who you are and where you heard it.

To read Dr. Richard Collins' article 'The Cuckoo: Ireland's Most Scandalous Bird!', click here:

Maternal Instincts In Birds & Animals

Unlike the cuckoo, the Bottlenose Dolphin wants to be sure her calf stays close to her after the birth.  A pregnant Bottlenose Dolphin will sing her name to the baby in her womb - so that it will recognise her when it goes out into the world.

A Bottlenose Dolphin; image: NASA/Wikipedia

But if we’re looking for a candidate for the best mother ever, look no further than the Sea Louse who makes the ULTIMATE sacrifice for her offspring.  When her babies are ready to be born they make their way into the world by eating her from the inside out!

To explore the many and varied habits of mothers in the animal kingdom we're joined this evening by zoologist Dr. Richard Collins, ornithologist Eric Dempsey of, and Isabel Baker, who is a Dolphin Researcher at the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation... 

My Naturama Nature Journal

Earlier this year, we reviewed Naturama, a delightful book which sets out to 'open your eyes to the wonders of Irish nature' (click here to listen back to that review).  Now following on from the massive and deserved success of that book, author Michael Fewer and illustrator Melissa Doran return with My Naturama Nature Journal, an activity book that encourages young readers to discover for themselves the magic of nature right on their doorstep.

Left: 'Naturama'; Right: the new 'My Naturama Nature Journal'

Suzanne Campbell is a food and farming author and journalist, and mammy to two daughters, and we asked her to review My Naturama Nature Journal - along with Anna, who is eight, and five-year-old Robin...

My Naturama Nature Journal is published by Gill Books.  The RRP is €14.99 and the ISBN is 9780717175451.  For more information, visit


We have three copies of My Naturama Nature Journal bundled with three of the original Naturama books to give away.  To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is answer this question:

When is the most common time of year to see bluebells? 
    A. January and February?
    B. April and May?         Or
    C. June and July?                                    

E-mail your name, address and answer to  Close of entries is next Sunday, April 2nd at 23:59.  Good luck!

And if discovering wildlife and exploring nature with young children is something that is of particular interest to you, then one recommendation from MGW producer Sheila is the 1974 classic movie Swallows And Amazons, which is set in 1929 and follows two families of children in the Lake District in England:

Cavan's Garden Wildlife

A recent e-mail arrived here in the office from Bill and Ann Ryan in Co. Cavan.

Like many others it was quick to inform us of the wildlife that could be found in listeners’ gardens, but what caught our eye was not what was written, but the attachments that accompanied it: stunning photographs of Pine Martens, Red Squirrels, Jays and Treecreepers - and all of these could be seen from Bill and Ann’s living room!

For most of us, to get to see Pine Martens or Red Squirrels requires a trek to some remote location, but Bill and Ann get to see them daily, and all from the comfort of their own armchair.  Not wishing to pass up the opportunity of seeing such an array of wildlife, we sent Terry Flanagan off to Co. Cavan, to see what he could see...

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 ( 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


***Download the Dawn Chorus 2017 podcasts***

Dawn Chorus 2017 - First Hour - 00:00 - 01:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Second Hour - 01:00 - 02:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Third Hour - 02:00 - 03:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Fourth Hour - 03:00 - 04:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Fifth Hour - 04:00 - 05:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Sixth Hour - 05:00 - 06:00



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Presenter: Derek Mooney


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