RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ Lyric fm celebrate our natural world this May Bank Holiday weekend with its annual live broadcast of the Dawn Chorus.
Live from BirdWatch Ireland’s Cuskinny Marsh Nature Reserve in County Cork, Derek Mooney will present a celebration of birdsong with Niall Hatch, Jim Wilson, Éanna Ní Lamhna and Terry Flanagan, plus expert contributors from across the Celtic nations of Europe.
RTÉ Radio 1 and Lyric fm have teamed up with their counterparts in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Cornwall for this simulcast in the early hours of Sunday 1st May.
Executive producer/presenter of the Dawn Chorus, Derek Mooney said: “The dawn chorus is the highlight of my year, professionally and personally. I absolutely love it and I find the whole experience refreshing. I always eagerly look forward to hearing the first song of the morning. In Cuskinny Marsh Nature Reserve, where we’ve done our live broadcast for many years now, that first singer is usually the Blackbird, typically followed closely by the Robin and then Wren. No two dawn choruses are the same, however. It really all depends on where you are in the country and which species happen to be close to you.”
He added: “People ask me if I’m excited to hear the birds singing during the programme. I always tell them that I’m more relieved than excited! This programme is literally broadcast around the globe, live, and it would be pretty awkward to say the least if our dawn chorus didn’t feature any birds. Thankfully that’s never happened. Regardless of the weather conditions on the morning, they always come through for us.”
Programming starts at midnight in the lead up to the Dawn Chorus live event with a special edition of Mooney Goes Wild entitled “What is a bird?”, in which Derek and his panel discuss the characteristics, behaviours and unique adaptations that set birds apart from all other animals. As part of the schedule, Terry Flanagan also presents a brand-new special episode dedicated to the Great Spotted Woodpecker, one of Ireland’s most recent avian colonists.
Continuing the build-up, RTÉ Lyric fm’s Aedín Gormley delves into the music library to reflect on how composers and songwriters have been inspired by birds and bird song through the ages for Lyrical Bird Song. And Dr. Paddy Glackin (TG4 Gradam Ceoil Musician of the Year 2022) and Dónal Lunny celebrate the wonders of nature through music and song in Celtic Fusion, in the company of some of the Celtic nations’ most notable traditional and folk performers.
The Celtic Dawn Chorus will be live from 4am to 7am on Sunday 1st May, broadcast simultaneously on RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ Lyric FM, BBC Radio Foyle, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cornwall and BBC Radio Scotland. And from 4am to 6am on BBC Radio Ulster.
Dawn Chorus schedule – Sunday 1st May 2022
0000-0100: What is a bird?
In this special edition of Mooney Goes Wild, Derek Mooney and his panel discuss the characteristics, behaviours and unique adaptations that set birds apart from all other animals.
0100-0200: RTÉ Lyric fm – Lyrical Bird Song Imitating the sounds of nature is a time-honoured practice among classical composers. From the Renaissance to today, many have been inspired by the many different sounds of sounds of chirping and tweeting which they have brought into their compositions capturing the sweet sounds of many birds. Aedín Gormley delves into the RTE Lyric fm music library to reflect on how composers and songwriters have been inspired by birds and bird song through the ages.
0200-0300: Celtic Fusion
Dr. Paddy Glackin, the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Musician of the Year 2022 and Dónal Lunny celebrate the wonders of nature through music and song with some of the Celtic nations’ most notable traditional and folk performers.
0300-0345: The Great Spotted Woodpecker
Terry Flanagan presents a special Mooney Goes Wild documentary about the Great Spotted Woodpecker, one of the newest and most interesting additions to the list of Irish breeding birds. Formerly absent from Ireland, a handful of these charismatic black-and-white birds flew across the Irish Sea from Britain roughly 15 years ago. Since then, the species has slowly but surely increased in number and expanded its range, to the point where its distinctive ‘drumming’ sound is becoming a feature of the Irish dawn chorus.
0345-0400: live from Cuskinny Marsh Nature Reserve, Derek Mooney, Niall Hatch and Jim Wilson look ahead to the annual broadcast of the dawn chorus.
0400-0700: The Celtic Dawn Chorus
Live from BirdWatch Ireland’s Cuskinny Marsh Nature Reserve in Co. Cork, a celebration of birdsong presented by Derek Mooney, with Niall Hatch, Jim Wilson, Éanna Ní Lamhna andTerry Flanagan, plus expert contributors from across the Celtic nations of Europe.
This is a simulcast with RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ Lyric fm, BBC Radio Ulster + BBC Radio Foyle, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cornwall and BBC Radio Scotland.