Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday June 11th 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...

On Mooney Goes Wild tonight...

Bláthnaid ní Chofaigh drops by to ask Richard Collins about the life expectancy of parents vs. non-parents in the human and animal world.  Paul Whelan from explains why looking out for roadkill, rather than averting your gaze, could help provide vital information for the Road Kill Survey 2017.  And we’re tickled pink to be with you tonight!  How did it all start, why we do it and did you know that primates enjoy a good tickle too?  We talk tickling and how it hits the funny spot...

Life Expectancy Of Parents

Our colleague Bláthnaid ní Chofaigh had an interesting question for Dr. Richard Collins - she had heard that parents live LESS longer than non-parents.  Could this possibly be true?  And if so, is it also the case in the animal world? So we invited Bláthnaid into studio to discuss it with Richard and Derek...

The bond between parent and child is one of love and devotion - but could it also be shortening the parent's lifespan? Photo: Nandhu Kumar / Pixabay

Road Kill Survey 2017

Have you ever accidentally hit and killed a dog, badger, fox, deer, cat, rabbit or other animal while out driving?  A recent survey from AA Ireland found that more than one in ten Irish motorists had hit or killed at least one animal with their car in the past five years.

It may be just a one off incident when it happens, but the implications can actually be quite far reaching.  The loss of even just a few of some of our wildlife species is likely to have a significant impact on local populations.  That’s why researchers are asking you to do something which you may prefer not to do, but it’s all for the greater good of our wildlife.  They’re asking you to stop (obviously - always and only in a very safe place!) and take a closer look at animals which you find dead on our highways and byways, and then report these sightings to them.

Paul Whelan, Founder of

This provides incredibly valuable information about our wildlife species and their habitats and, as a result, helps to develop strategies in the conservation of protected species.  All information from public sightings will contribute to the 2017 Road Kill Survey, which is compiled by Paul Whelan.  He runs, a website which aims to promote biodiversity awareness.   Paul lives in Midleton in Co Cork and Derek met him recently on a particular stretch of the road which runs towards Kinsale...

Click here to find out which species require roadkill reports for.  To find out more about the Road Kill Survey 2017, and to submit your records, please visit


Laughter has to be one of the best sounds in the world and especially when it comes from a good old fashioned tickle.  It makes us giggle, gasp for breath, have convulsions and beg the other person to please, please, please stop doing it... but what’s tickling really all about?

There’s definitely something social about it.  It’s one of the first ways that parents communicate with their babies.  It’s how brothers and sisters playfully bond with each other.  It’s also how potential lovers tease and flirt with one another.

But tickling is much more than that.  Research also links it to self-defence.  It’s no coincidence that the most ticklish parts of the body are also the most vulnerable, like the neck, the ribs and the stomach.

And humans aren’t the only ones to do it.  Tickling and tickle-induced laughter also exist in our monkey relatives, such as chimpanzees and orangutans.

So how did it all begin and why do we do it?  Prof. Robert R. Provine, a neuroscientist and Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in the USA, is also the author of a book called Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond.

Robert recently spoke with Derek, Richard Collins, and Eanna ni Lamhna about why we tickle, and what laughter is...

Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, And Beyond, by Robert Provine, is published by The Belknap Press. The ISBN is 9780674048515 and the RRP is €25.

Left: Professor Robert Provine; right: 'Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, And Beyond'

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 Song Of The Diddy Men

The Song Of The Diddy Men

The Diddy Men


The Laughing Policeman

The Laughing Policeman

Charles Penrose




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Presenter: Derek Mooney


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