Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday April 30th 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...

Does the hair of the dog do you any good?  Find out how it works for the Great Tit!  Sébastien Petiet from the RTÉ Concert Orchestra brings us his musical ode to our feathered friends.  And as we preview this year’s Dawn Chorus, we have news of a fabulous live concert - and how YOU can be part of it!

Bláthnaid's Great Tit!

A commonly perceived cure for those suffering a hangover after a heavy night of drinking is "the hair of the dog" - in other words, a drop more alcohol to clear the head.  But taking it literally, what benefits could the hair of the dog actually provide - and for whom?

Well, it's breeding season for the birds, and most are busy lining the cups of their nests with moss, or sheep wool, for a nice cosy interior.  Birds will often use whatever materials are close by.  And so an enterprising Great Tit that is building a nest near the home of RTÉ RnaG presenter Bláthnaid ni Chofaigh has decided to take advantage of her family pet - and is lining the nest with the hair of her dog, Poitín!  Bláthnaid joins us in studio to tell us all about it...

Preview Of Dawn Chorus 2017

Next Sunday is International Dawn Chorus Day – so you know what that means!  Here on RTÉ Radio 1, we’ll be hosting our marathon six-hour Dawn Chorus programme for the 22nd year.  If you tuned in last year you’ll know that we expanded our outlook to produce a truly international event – for the first time joining our colleagues in Europe for the European Dawn Chorus.  As well as eavesdropping on birds all over Ireland, we brought you birdsong from far-flung places like Norway, the Netherlands and Russia.

This year promises to be bigger again as we partner with BBC Radio 4 in the UK, and in a first for Irish Radio, welcome All-India Radio and many millions of listeners from the Indian Sub-Continent into our exclusive Dawn Chorus club.  We'll get to listen in to birdsong from twenty different locations, spanning six time zones across thirteen countries, as we traverse every latitude and longitude from India to Iceland, following the wave of light as it reveals this ornithological opera!

Two of our Dawn Chorus stalwarts, Dr. Richard Collins and Niall Hatch (Development Officer with BirdWatch Ireland) join Derek in studio to chat about some of the new and exotic birds we might expect to hear this year, and some of the local favourites!

Calling All Early Birds!

As well as hearing all the lovely birds from all over Europe and India, we'd really like to hear what the Dawn Chorus sounds like where YOU are!  So whether you are listening in your back garden in Dublin, at work in Dubai or in a park Down Under, we would like to hear YOUR Dawn Chorus!  If you have a smartphone or tablet that can record audio, please do record your local Dawn Chorus, and e-mail, telling us where you are, the type of habitat where you recorded the birdsong, a bit about yourself, and if you can identify any of the birds in the recording (don't worry if not!).  Please note that by sending us your audio, that we may include it in our Dawn Chorus programme.

An Ornithological Ode To The Dawn Chorus

Sébastien Petiet is a member of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, where he plays the violin.  Originally from France, he has lived for many years in Ireland.  Inspired by standing on a cliff edge listening to gannets and gulls, he wrote a piece of music called The Three Sisters.  Tonight, we hear Sébastien perform his composition The Three Sisters on tin whistle...

Dawn Chorus Concert

Another new departure for us on the Dawn Chorus this year is that in the hour directly preceding our broadcast here on RTÉ Radio 1, we’ll be bringing you a special, live, bird-themed concert – featuring some amazing performers like Sibéal Ní Chasaide.  She took the country by storm during RTÉ’s 1916 celebrations last year when she sang Mise Éire, set to a new score by her uncle Patrick Cassidy.

So as a prélude, an opening, to set the scene for Dawn Chorus 2017, there'll be a special hour-long concert of music and song from 23:00 on Saturday evening until midnight, here in the RTÉ Radio Centre.  It will be hosted by Fiachna Ó Braonáin, current presenter of Late Date (Fri-Sun) and former Hothouse Flower.  Performers will include the four-piece group New Road (who perform Irish and American music), Mary Coughlan and her Band, Hummingbird, Séamus and Maebh Ní Bheaglaíoch, and the aforementioned Sibéal Ní Chasaide.

And - there's a chance for YOU to join us here in the RTÉ Radio Centre, as part of the audience for the concert, if you email:

and say you'd like to attend. Please put "Dawn Chorus Concert" in the subject bar and you're in with a chance - tickets are limited, but you could very well be lucky!

The concert is free – but you will need a ticket to secure your seat at what promises to be a stunning event.

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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