Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday May 28th 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!

Robin - The Christmas Bird

The robin, not the turkey, is the real Christmas bird; you'll find him on cards, cakes and Christmas trees.  But is Robin Redbreast having us on?  Is he really the friendly and gentle little fellow he seems?  Does he deserve his special Christmas place?  Dr. Richard Collins, scientific adviser to Mooney Goes Wild, investigates!  To read more about this special documentary, and to listen to the programme, click here.

On Mooney Goes Wild tonight...

By popular demand - another chance to hear some of the highlights from this year's epic International Dawn Chorus broadcast!

The Dawn Chorus has become a radio phenomenon in Ireland.  Every spring, for more than two decades now, Derek Mooney and his Mooney Goes Wild team on RTÉ Radio 1 have broadcast the sounds of early morning birdsong into homes across the country.  Following on from the huge success of the multi-award winning European Dawn Chorus programme in 2016 (which scooped the Rose D'Or for European Radio Event Of The Year and national PPI Radio Award for Innovation), RTÉ once more teamed up with broadcasters and bird experts across Europe and beyond to bring listeners the exquisite sound and expert analysis of this beautiful birdsong.

Clockwise from top left: some of the birds heard in the Dawn Chorus this year: Austrian Nightingales, Indian Peacocks, Irish Corncrakes and Spanish Flamingoes!  Image of Nightingale: Leander Khil; image of Corncrake: Colum Clarke/BirdWatch Ireland

In the early hours of International Dawn Chorus Day this year, on May 7th, a radio audience reaching across three continents were able to listen in to the songs of the birds in twenty-one different locations, spanning six time zones over twelve countries, as we traversed every latitude and longitude from India to Iceland, following the wave of light as it revealed this ornithological opera!  We heard birds both exotic and local, and different sounds that were new to our audience, as well as some familiar favourites, as we travelled to every kind of habitat and through every temperature, from the searing heat of India to the near-zero climes of Finland.

Thanks to our colleagues in the European Broadcasting Union, All India Radio and BirdLife International, we were able to listen to the Dawn Chorus in India, Finland, Lithuania, Austria, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Great Britain and Iceland.  The programme was broadcast across Canada, most of Europe and to almost half a billion listeners in India!

Clockwise from top left: members of the Dawn Chorus teams in Ireland (St. Anne's Park, Raheny - RTÉ), Spain (Odiel Marshes - RTVE), India (Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary - All India Radio) and Lithuania (Zuvintas Lake - LRT)

To find out more about Dawn Chorus 2017, click here.  You can find out a bit more about some of those countries taking part by clicking here, and if you'd like to view some of the photos and videos from this year's event, then why not visit our Flickr page

You can listen back to or download each hour of the programme by clicking on the links at the top of this page (underneath the videos), or you can listen back to the full six-hour broadcast here

In addition this year, to mark the Dawn Chorus, a special concert was broadcast live from the Radio Centre in the hour preceding the Dawn Chorus.  You can listen back to the Dawn Chorus concert by clicking here.

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

Music Played on the Show

The Lark In The Clear Air

The Lark In The Clear Air

Sibeal Ní Chasaide




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Presenter: Derek Mooney


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