The Dawn Chorus 2023
Sunday 7th May from midnight to 07:00 on RTÉ Radio 1
Love nature, love the Dawn Chorus!
Listen to the birds sing: in the early hours of Sunday 7th May, Ireland’s airwaves will come alive with birdsong
RTÉ Radio’s live Dawn Chorus is one of the most ambitious and innovative radio projects to have hit the Irish airwaves. For almost three decades now, Derek Mooney and his team of experts have been bringing the uplifting and fascinating strains of early-morning birdsong to listeners.
Winner of both the National PPI Radio Award for Innovation and the coveted International Rose d’Or award, the programme has become one of the broadcast highlights of the year, not just in Ireland but right across Europe and beyond. Featuring live birdsong and expert commentary, it offers an unmatched live celebration of our natural heritage.
“Interest in the natural world has never been higher. People have a greater appreciation of our flora and fauna and for the songs of our wild birds” says Derek Mooney.
The dawn chorus is one of the most magical experiences in nature: a multitude of birds of many different species all singing together in harmony as morning breaks and light begins to fill the skies. As our natural world’s most impressive and renowned concert, it is almost as though it has been tailor-made for radio.
International Dawn Chorus Day will take place on Sunday 7th May and this year the Mooney Goes Wild team will be bringing things back home with a celebration of Irish birdsong from midnight through to 7:00am on RTÉ Radio One, in a simulcast with RTÉ Lyric FM.
“From Kate Bush to Messiaen, from Respighi to Charlie Parker, the song and chatter of birds have always been a huge inspiration to musicians and composers. The sheer variety of bird calls – the cheery gossip of garden visitors, the exotic and lush swoops of tropical aristocrats, the almost heart-breaking lonesome call of the curlew – these are music in themselves. Our human musical response is an attempt to celebrate our beautiful and precious natural world, and delight in the riches that we are fortunate to live alongside. How can we not smile when we hear the first stirrings of the birds on an early May morning?” Sinead Wyle Head of RTÉ Lyric FM
‘Home base’ once again this year will be BirdWatch Ireland’s Cuskinny Marsh Nature Reserve in Cobh, Co. Cork, where our main presentation team of Derek Mooney, Niall Hatch, Éanna Ní Lamhna and local ornithologist Alan Farrell will introduce the dawn chorus and, while the birdsong builds in real time, explain to listeners what our feathered friends are getting up to as the sun rises.
Across the country, Dr Richard Collins, Eric Dempsey and Terry Flanagan will also bring us the birdsong from their parts of Ireland, as the sun gradually breaks the horizon and the birds begin their performances.
We are also delighted to be partnering once again with our colleagues in BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Wales.
This year’s dawn chorus is about the birds and listeners. We are counting on our listeners to send us their own recordings and live feeds of the birdsong performance happening near them. It could be the sound from a garden, local park or woodland . . . or even just outside the bedroom window.
So, join us on RTÉ Radio One and RTÉ lyric FM from 00:00-0700 on Sunday 7th May for a very special celebration of our wild birds, an exploration of the shared natural heritage and the finest free concert you will hear all year.
Love nature, love the Dawn Chorus!