Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday May 14th 2017

Mooney Goes Wild

Mooney Goes Wild

We visit some mysterious, uninvited guests lodging in a Donegal cooker hood, enjoy an unexpected encounter with a heron along the banks of the Grand Canal, and we celebrate some of the highlights from last Sunday’s very International Dawn Chorus programme!

International Dawn Chorus 2017

On last Sunday’s Dawn Chorus, we were joined by broadcasting colleagues from all over Europe, the UK and India, to bring you a glorious array of birdsong from around the world.

When embarking on Safari, enthusiasts tend to go in search of the Big Five – the lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros.  So we were delighted that here on the 2017 Dawn Chorus, amongst many other species, we went in search of – and found – our very own key species.  In order of appearance on our marathon six-hour broadcast, we first heard we heard the elusive Corncrake.  Unbelievably there were eight of them singing all night up in Carrickfinn in Co. Donegal here in Ireland.

From Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary in Agra, virtually in the shadow of the Taj Mahal, we were treated to an incredible array of exotic birds – from Black Indian Cuckoos and Mynas, to White-breasted Water Hens to Peacocks.

Austria provided us with the pure and persistent, sweet voice of the Nightingale, and then - as if appearing right on cue as we joined our colleagues in Lithuania - the cuckoo started to call.

And the pièce de résistance for many was right here in Ireland, in St Anne’s Park in Dublin – when the residents of the heronry interrupted Derek's conversation with bird-box designer extraordinaire, Eric Simonds.

It really was an epic broadcast, taking listeners in three continents on a six-hour, six-time zone journey, following the wave of light as Dawn broke, traversing every latitude and longitude from a scorching India to a chilly Iceland.  Tonight, we relive some of the highlights of an extraordinary night...

To view our Flickr gallery with all the photos leading up to, and during, the Dawn Chorus broadcast, please visit

The Donegal Cooker Bird

Kate O’Halloran lives in an old schoolhouse between Letterkenny and Glenties in Co. Donegal – an idyllic setting, surrounded by the Donegal Hills with the River Swilly running along the bottom of the garden.

As you can imagine it’s rich with the sound of birdsong, and Kate appreciates birds as much as the rest of us.  That was until she began to hear a constant cacophony coming from the cooker hood – right in the heart of her kitchen.

Derek recently went up to Glen Swilly to meet Kate and her son Maurice...

Derek's Dublin Heron Encounter

During the Dawn Chorus programme, the Herons in St. Anne’s Park in Raheny were a star turn.  They’re a familiar species in Ireland, where they live all year round.  The Heron feeds along the edge of a wide range of wetland habitats - from coastal waters and estuaries - to loughs, marshy ground and streams.  Derek encountered one recently, as he was walking along the Grand Canal near Portobello in Dublin...


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.

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.


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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