Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday January 21st 2018

Four Tips For Feeding Hungry Birds In Cold Weather

This is a tough time for birds.  Keen gardeners will know that their natural food source has been depleted, leaving our feathered friends struggling to find food.  They need all the help they can get. Learn more about feeding birds by clicking here for tips for feeding hungry birds in cold weather.



Twitter: @NatureRTE

On Mooney Goes Wild tonight...

On Mooney Goes Wild tonight...

Irene O'Brien from the Irish Raptor Study Group tells us about a new study which reveals positive news for Ireland's Peregrine Falcons.  It’s the Lamborghini of the bird world, reaching speeds of over 300 km/h, but the Peregrine Falcon is also being relentlessly persecuted.  We travel to Northern Ireland to hear about an award-winning initiative using drone technology designed to catch wildlife criminals.  From Peregrines to Buzzards, Red Kites to Sparrowhawks, Niall Hatch of BirdWatch Ireland is in studio to chat about the devastating impact of poisoning on our birds of prey.   Also joining us is Superintendant Martin Walker of An Garda Siochana, who’s been investigating wildlife crime in this country for than thirty years.  And reporter Terry Flanagan meets John Lusby and Dr. Caroline Sullivan, to learn more about the new Hen Harrier programme, and how it will help protect this iconic species...

Peregrine Falcon Study

A new study by the Irish Raptor Study Group and the National Parks and Wildlife Service shows the fastest bird in the world - the Peregrine Falcon - is making a slow recovery here.  The survey, which involved the IRSG and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) along with 260 volunteers, found a 5% increase in breeding pairs since the last national survey, in 2002.  The survey estimates that there are now approximately 420 breeding pairs.  Irene O’Brien is secretary with the IRSG, as well as a Conservation Ranger with Ballycroy National Park in County Mayo, and joins us tonight to tell us more...

For further information on the Irish Raptor Study Group, visit

Left: a Peregrine Falcon (image: Michael Finn / BirdWatch Ireland); right: Irene O'Brien (image: Irish Raptor Study Group)

Irish Raptor Study Group Conference [IRSG] 2018

The 2018 Irish Raptor Study Group Conference will take place NEXT SATURDAY, January 27th, at the Green Isle Hotel in Dublin.  It's a one-day conference that is open to all [you do not have to be an member of the IRSG]. The conference will provide an update on some of the latest Bird of Prey research from within Ireland and the UK - including the status of the Peregrine Falcon population in the Republic of Ireland.  It is a chance to meet other Bird of Prey enthusiasts and get involved.  The conference takes place from 9.30am - 5.00pm; the fee is €25 per person, which includes tea/coffee (but not lunch).  For more information, e-mail or click here.

Preventing Wildlife Crime

The wonders of Ireland’s magnificent wildlife are admired the world over and it’s hard to understand why anyone would wilfully cause harm to any of our creatures.  But, sadly, the reality is that some do. 

In Northern Ireland, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) pursue wildlife criminals as energetically as any other lawbreakers - whether they are involved in badger baiting, illegal hare coursing events, trapping of finches or deer, poaching salmon or persecuting birds of prey.

In recognition of their work, the PSNI has recently shared an award for tackling crimes against the peregrine falcon.  'Operation Peregrine Watch' saw officers use drones to keep check on falcon nests in areas at risk and reduce shooting, poisoning and trapping of birds of prey.

Emma Meredith is Wildlife Liaison Officer with the PSNI, and on a recent visit to Belfast, Derek met up with her to find out more about winning the Wildlife Crime Operation of the Year Award 2017 (which was shared between the PSNI, Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group and the Environment Agency), and about the work of the force in tackling wildlife crime in Northern Ireland...

For further information about the Wildlife Crime Operation award, click here

Bird Poisonings

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS, operating under the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht) is the Irish law enforcement agency when it comes to reporting and dealing with this type of crime.  There were some 13 prosecutions taken by the Department in 2017 for breaches of the provisions of the Wildlife Acts.  These prosecutions varied from the illegal cutting of hedgerows and clearance of vegetation to the illegal hunting of hares, badgers and duck species.  Prosecutions were successful in 3 of these cases, while the balance of 10 cases are awaiting District Court dates.

One of the most commonly-reported instances of wildlife crime is the poisoning of protected birds.  To tell us more, Derek, Richard Collins and Eanna ni Lamhna are joined in studio by Niall Hatch, BirdWatch Ireland's Development Officer...

From left: Richard Collins, Eanna ni Lamhna, Niall Hatch and Martin Walker

Wildlife Crime & The Gardaí

From ivory and rhino poaching in Africa, to illegally-trafficked rare reptiles for the pet trade, to badger baiting in Wicklow - wildlife crime is worth up to €18 billion annually worldwide.  After drugs importation, firearms smuggling and human trafficking, crime against wildlife is the biggest moneyspinner for underground gangs around the world.

Unlike the PSNI, An Garda Síochána have no dedicated wildlife crime unit; however, there are members of the force with a background in fighting wildlife crime.  Superintendent Martin Walker has 35 years such experience - and in that time, he has investigated many areas of wildlife crime including the poaching of deer, badger baiting, dog fighting, finching, illegal hare coursing and salmon poaching.  He joins Derek, Richard, Niall, and Eanna in studio...


Contact the NPWS and the Gardaí immediately if you suspect suspicious activity or possible crime against wildlife.  Do so without putting yourself in danger, and providing as much information as you can on location, vehicle registration numbers etc...  For more information on what constitutes a wildlife crime, legislation and reporting crimes, there is a wealth of information on the website

Useful Links

Wildlife Act, 1976

Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000

European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011

For further information on Irish Law & our wildlife, visit the NPWS website:

Hen Harriers

How many birds can you think of that are critically endangered here in Ireland?  The corncrake and the curlew quickly spring to mind.  But what about the hen harrier?

Many people have never heard of this majestic bird of prey and fewer have ever seen one.  There are just a couple of hundred present throughout the whole country now, and it is an amber-listed species.  So why are they in trouble and can anything be done to save them?

Hen Harrier; image: Shay Connolly / BirdWatch Ireland

Well it seems help may be at hand.  The Government’s new €25m five-year hen harrier programme is now open for application, in a bid to save it.  According to Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, "the programme will show how Irish farmers can work in tune with the environment to help save one of our most endangered species". 

Last weekend, our reporter, Terry Flanagan headed off to Lough Corrib, in Co. Galway, to meet up with hen harrier biologist John Lusby, and Dr. Caroline Sullivan, project officer of the Hen harrier programme to learn a little bit more about this iconic species and what is being done to save it...

For further information, click here or visit


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 read the Heritage Bill 2016, as passed by Dáil Éireann on July 5th 2018, click here.  To read the Heritage Act 2018, 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

Music Played on the Show

Oceanus: Ocean Journey

Oceanus: Ocean Journey

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Presenter: Derek Mooney


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