Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday February 7th 2016

This year's Dawn Chorus programme took place on Sunday, May 6th 2018, and was a roaring success!  All India Radio producer Monika Gulati sent us a pic of herself sporting our Dawn Chorus beanie!!

May Events

Well whilst our Dawn Chorus programme may have finished for another year, throughout May, events are still taking place around the country to celebrate the beautiful birdsong that our feathered friends provide.  For more information on these events, and on the annual Burren In Bloom festival that takes place from May 18th - 20th, visit our events listings page!  And if you have an event you'd like to let our listeners know about, e-mail

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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.

Mooney Goes Wild: All About Crows

The crow is a bird that is loved and loathed in equal measure.  Collectively known as a murder of crows, they are birds strongly associated with death.  In Hindusim, crows are believed to be ancient ancestors, Ovid saw the crow as a bringer of rain, and here in Ireland, the banshee often took the form of a crow. So what's the real deal with these corvids?  Derek Mooney presents a special programme from the Mooney Goes Wild team called All About Crows...

In this programme, Derek travels to Leap in County Cork, to learn firsthand about their Scarecrow Festival; there, he talks to Kathleen Woumans and Rita Ryan, from the Leap Development Committee...

Kathleen Woumans, Leap Development Committee

Rita Ryan, Leap Development Committee

One of the scarecrows in Leap

To see more of the scarecrows, click here to read this Irish Examiner article.

From Leap, Derek travelled to Kilbeggan, in Co. Westmeath, where he met Richard Collins and his family, who were observing a battle between crows and starlings.

Derek then met Gabrielle Davidson, a post-doctoral researcher at University College Cork, who studies cognition in birds, especially corvids...

Gabrielle Davidson; photo courtesy of

A raven is another member of the crow family.  It’s long been known how intelligent ravens are, and just how sophisticated their behaviour can be - but new research reveals that ravens are ruthless social climbers, sabotaging bonding between other birds who may become future competitors.  The research has been carried out by a team at the University of Vienna’s Department of Cognitive Biology. Dr. Jorg Massen is a senior scientist and member of that team, and he tells Derek more about his research...

Dr. Jorg Massen; photo courtesy of

So what are the physical characteristics of crows? Derek met up with Dr. Brendan Kavanagh, Head of Biology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, to find out more...

Terry Flanagan is our reporter here on Mooney Goes Wild; he travelled to the Murrough beach in County Wicklow, just outside of Wicklow Town, to meet Dr. Steve Newton from BirdWatch Ireland to observe a crow roost.  Another major roost is in Castleconnell in County Limerick, where Derek met up with Paul Moroney.

Finally, to learn more about the crow's depiction in art and culture, Derek and Richard Collins visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, to find out from museum curator Nienke Bakker about Vincent Van Gogh's celebrated painting Wheatfield With Crows... To find out more about the painting and view it in close detail, click here to visit the website of the museum.

Richard Collins with Nienke Bakker in front of Wheatfield With Crows by Van Gogh

About 'Wheatfield With Crows'

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.

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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