Mooney, Friday September 27th 2013

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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!



Derek Mooney with his unique mix of conversation, information, advice and entertainment

On Mooney today...

Rat poison might be an effective way to control our least favourite rodent, but what about when these poisons end up in birds of prey, like barn owls? A new campaign hopes to address the problem.

Drier summers, wetter autumns, and increased flooding... How will Ireland cope with the drastic climate change that lies ahead? Ireland's leading climatologist, Prof John Sweeney, joins today's panel.

And, Ireland is one of the few countries in the world not to have a national bird. Should this change? And if so, what would YOUR nomination be? Get your suggestions in to or tweet us @MooneyShow!

UN Climate Change Report Published

UN Climate Change Report Published

Today is one of the biggest days in the year – indeed in seven years – for environmentalists. The landmark fifth United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report has been published.

The effects of climate change are having an ever-more apparent impact all around the globe on our daily lives. In Ireland, we have witnessed the effects of climate change – such as an increased stress on our water systems during our drier summers but also massive costs and damage due to flooding due to increased rainfall in our winters.

To put some sense on the mass of information out there, we are joined in studio today by climatologist Professor John Sweeney, from NUI Maynooth...

For more information about the report, click here.

Rodenticides & Barn Owls

Rodenticides & Barn Owls

Rodents are a peculiar group of animals. There are rodents we absolutely love, like the red squirrel. And rodents we absolutely despise, like those nasty rats! Rats and mice, it's fair to say, are not exactly on friendly terms with our farming community, in particular. And in order to control them, various methods are used, including the laying of poisons known as "rodenticides".

However, without proper controls on the use of rodenticides, serious threats can emerge to our bird population.

Recently, it was found that up to 80% of barn owls had some kind of rodenticide in their system, which is alarming statistic. And it's ironic as well, because barn owls are also vital in the control of rats and mice.

John Lusby, who is the is the Raptor Conservation Officer for Birdwatch Ireland, is also the man behind the research that came up with that figure of 80%, and he joins us from our Galway studio today to explain more...

As part of the discussion, Eanna mentioned the Irish Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use - for more information about the campaign, visit

Discover Research Dublin

Discover Research Dublin

At 4pm this afternoon, a series of FREE events will kick off in Dublin City Centre! It’s to celebrate 'European Researchers Night – in which cities all across Europe choose their best and brightest researchers (usually people who are very much behind-the-scenes) and roll them out to wow people with their work.

There are lots of fun events happening in Dublin tonight – and to tell us all about it we are joined in studio by Dr. Jennifer Edmonds, the Co-ordinator of Discover Research Dublin and Director of Strategic Projects at the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences in Trinity College Dublin.

To find out more about the events that comprise Discover Research Dublin, visit

The Secret Life Of The Shannon Wins Prestigious Wildlife Award

This clip is from The Secret Life of the Shannon, a two-part series that went out on RTÉ One this May as part of the RTÉ Goes Wild Season.

And the production company who made it, Wicklow-based Crossing The Line, has just won not one, but three awards for it.

On A River In Ireland, a one-part film version of the highly-acclaimed two-part series, took the overall Grand Teton Best of Festival Award along with awards for Best Editing and Best Wildlife Habitat Program at the world's leading Wildlife Film Festival, Jackson Hole in Wyoming USA.

And on the phone today from Jackson Hole is The Secret Life Of The Shannon’s director, John Murray!

National Bird Of Ireland?

When The Muppet Show creator Jim Henson was looking for a figure to represent America, only one animal fit the bill: the Eagle. Or more specifically, the American Bald Eagle, the national bird of America.

Sam The Eagle, from The Muppet Show

Closer to these shores, the national bird of France, many of you will already know, is the Gallic Rooster. You can see him represented on the French rugby jerseys during the Six Nations Championships.

And as the white tailed sea eagle... that magnificent bird that has just been reintroduced to County Kerry is, would you believe, the national bird of Afghanistan!

In fact, loads of countries have a national bird. In the United Kingdom, it's the European Robin. And Scotland has its own national bird, the Golden Eagle.

So, what's the national bird of Ireland? The answer is that we don't have one!

And we were reminded of this fact when listener Jack Quinn tweeted us (@MooneyShow) to ask:

"Does Ireland have a national bird? I cannot find an answer anywhere so I'm hoping you can tell me. If not, why not?? Thanks. Jack Quinn"

Mooney Goes Wild reporter Terry Flanagan went out and about to ask people what they think the national bird of Ireland should be, and we are also joined in studio by Niall Hatch, Development Officer with BirdWatch Ireland, who has also been taking a look into this...

To find out what the national birds of lots of other countries are, click 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


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Presenter: Derek Mooney


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