Dawn Chorus 2019 - Press Release

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Dawn Chorus 2019: Sunday, May 5th 2019, from 00:00 – 07:00, on RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland

RTÉ Radio 1’s live Dawn Chorus is one of the most ambitious and innovative radio projects ever to have been broadcast.  For more than two decades, Derek Mooney and his team of experts have been bringing the uplifting and fascinating sounds of early-morning birdsong to listeners.  Initially the programme was confined to Ireland, but in 2016 this landmark simulcast brought together two dynamic international networks, joining forces for the first time and highlighting the value of continent-wide collaboration: the European Broadcasting Union and BirdLife International, the global partnership of bird conservation organisations.

Winner both of the National PPI Radio Award for Innovation and the coveted International Rose d’Or award for European Radio Event Of The Year, the programme has become one of the broadcast highlights of the year, not just in Ireland but right across Europe and beyond.  Featuring live birdsong and expert commentary from around the world, it offers an unmatched live celebration of our shared natural heritage.

There is a lot of concern all over the world about climate change, which is without question one of the biggest threats facing our natural world today.  In the face of such a challenge, more and more people are asking what they can do to help conserve our most vulnerable plants and animals.  One of the best ways to begin helping to protect our wildlife is to learn more about them… and one of the best ways to do that is to observe them and to listen to them.

What better way, therefore, to kick off the May Bank Holiday weekend than with a special live seven-hour radio programme celebrating the phenomenon of the Dawn Chorus?  On Sunday May 5th, from 00:00 – 07:00, together with our EBU partners across the continent and with the support of conservation partner BirdWatch Ireland and its fellow BirdLife International organisations around the world, we will track the great wave of birdsong as it shifts from east to west with the rising of the sun.  It is literally the sound of the Earth spinning on its axis.  This will be the 24th live celebration of early-morning birdsong from RTÉ’s Mooney Goes Wild team, and the fourth to go fully international.

Home base for the programme this year will be BirdWatch Ireland’s Cuskinny Marsh Nature Reserve in Co. Cork, where our main presentation team of Derek Mooney, Dr. Richard Collins and Niall Hatch will introduce the Dawn Chorus and, while the birdsong builds in real time, explain to listeners what our feathered friends are getting up to around the world as the sun rises.

This year’s programme promises to be even bigger and better than ever before.  It will feature live contributions from more than 30 different locations across the globe, from: the lush primeval forests of eastern Poland to the freshwater lakes of the Himalayas in India; the medieval town of Assisi in Italy to an urban wildlife sanctuary in Kenya, where we’ll relish the sounds of an African Dawn Chorus for the first time; an intermittently disappearing lake in Slovenia to the richly diverse coastal wetlands of Wales, to name but a few.  All are very different, but all have one very important thing in common: they are teeming with abundant bird life, guaranteeing the most spectacular Dawn Chorus yet broadcast.

But that’s not all.  In addition to many of our old friends, such as BBC Northern Ireland, BBC Scotland, YLE Finland, LRT Lithuania, ABC Australia, for the very first time, we will be joined live by Kazakhstan, Israel, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus as well as BBC Wales and BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.  Never before has such an ambitious live international radio broadcast been attempted.

Ireland’s bird life will truly shine too, in front of a huge international audience.  In addition to our main base at Cuskinny Marsh, a whole host of contributors will be stationed around the country to bring us the most comprehensive live coverage of our Irish birdsong ever to have been featured in the programme’s 24-year history.  Eric Dempsey will be in St. Anne’s Park in Dublin City, Susan O’Donohoe will bring us Cuckoos from the Burren in Co. Clare and Terry Flanagan will be reporting with Eanna ni Lamhna from Luttrellstown Castle in Co. Dublin.

Elsewhere in Dublin, star actors June Rodgers and Rory Cowan will be on hand to bring us even more birdsong.  We will check in with the Ostriches at Cork’s Fota Wildlife Park with RTÉ’s Bláthnaid ní Chofaigh and hear the distinctive call of the Corncrakes along the coast of Co Donegal.

We have an added treat for listeners this year.  In advance of the main Dawn Chorus broadcast, RTÉ Radio 1 will be airing a special one-hour pre-recorded programme on Saturday May 4th, at 20:00: the Pre-Dawn Chorus.  As the Dawn Chorus in many countries falls outside of our transmission time, this year, for the very first time, we are making a programme which will showcase the best of early morning birdsong from each continent, bringing listeners the finest early morning bird song from Hong Kong, Brazil, Ghana, Antarctica, Canada, Australia, as well as Ireland.  It’s a programme no nature-lover will want to miss!


Dawn Chorus 2019 will feature contributions from the following locations & countries:

IRELAND – Cork: Cuskinny Marsh Nature Reserve, Cobh

IRELAND – Cork: Fota Wildlife Park

IRELAND – Dublin: Luttrellstown Castle Resort

IRELAND – Dublin: St. Anne’s Park

IRELAND – Dublin: Tallaght

IRELAND – Dublin: Kilmainham

IRELAND – County Clare: The Burren

IRELAND – County Donegal: Tory Island

IRELAND – County Galway

IRELAND – County Wexford: Saltee Islands

IRELAND – County Westmeath: Mullingar

Australia (EBU – ABC Australia)

Azerbaijan (BLI - Azerbaijan Ornithological Society (AOS)


Cyprus (BLI - BirdLife Cyprus)

England (EBU – BBC Radio Cambridgeshire)

England (Wolverhampton, Chris Baines, founder of International Dawn Chorus Day)

England (Suffolk)

Finland (EBU – YLE)

India (EBU – All India Radio)



Kazakhstan (BLI - ACBK)

Kenya (BLI – Nature Kenya)

Lithuania (EBU – LRT)

Northern Ireland (EBU – BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Radio Foyle & RSPB NI)

Poland (BLI – OTOP)

Scotland (BBC Radio Scotland & RSPB Scotland)

Slovenia (EBU – RTVSLO)

Wales (EBU – BBC Radio Wales)

Pre-Dawn Chorus: An Intercontinental Show will feature contributions from the following locations & countries:

North America: Canada (CBC & Toronto Ornithological Club)

South America: Brazil (BLI – SAVE Brasil)

Europe: Ireland (EBU – RTÉ Radio 1)

Asia: Hong Kong (BLI – HKBWS / Project Crow)

Africa: Ghana (BLI – Ghana Wildlife Society)

Australia (EBU – ABC)


Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rtenature/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NatureRTE





Contact the Show

E-mail: mooney@rte.ie

Presenter: Derek Mooney

Series Producer: Ana Leddy

Ways to Listen

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