Sunday, 25 May 2008


Martin Maloney has always had a keen interest in birds. He is known as the bird doctor and at the moment he is caring for a baby owl that was in danger of being eaten by larger birds in the nest. Martin travels around the schools of Donegal with his peregrine falcon, barn owl and Harris Hawk entertaining and educating children on the wonders of birds. Throughout the summer he will be at Glenveagh National Park demonstrating the fine art of falconry to enthusiastic tourists. Martin is a member of the Inishowen Wildlife club and goes bird watching most weekends.

What would you never throw away?
I would never throw my camcorder away. I always seem to have it recording. I use it a lot for filming wild birds in the countryside. If I go to weddings and other social events I use it then. I also tend to record the family when they least want me too …

What book are you reading?
I have a great book that I am reading at the moment called Jesus In His Times, it’s a history book that was printed by the Readers Digest in 1989. I also have a lot of bird books that I use for reference.

What music do you like?
I like some of the old classic bands like Thin Lizzie, the Eagles and R.E.M. I also really enjoy church music. I am in the folk group at the Cockhill church and also sing with the Gateway singers so church music can be inspirational.

What was your favourite childhood game?
Sledging. Some might not believe this but we used to have snow that settled for 2 to 3 weeks in the winter. My friends and I would go down the hill near Castle Park in the town and sledge right down until we ran into the Stone Jug, which used to stop us from careering into the Swilly.

Have you been to the cinema recently, what did you see and was it any good?
Elizabeth, my wife and I try to go often to the cinema. The last film we went to see was Blood Diamond. This is a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio about a fisherman, a smuggler, and a syndicate of businessmen matching their wits over the possession of a priceless diamond. It was based on a true story and was very entertaining.

What section of the newspaper do you turn to first?
The sports pages, especially football.

What is your idea of a good night out?
A good meal, then over to the Cruiskeen Lawn.

Can you be forgetful?
Yes. I have been known to go to the wrong venues when I am singing. I was due to sing at Cockhill church but went to the oratory in Buncrana instead. And there was that time that I went to singing practice with my daughter Lisa and forgot she was there! I realised when I got home and had to go back for her…

Have you a favourite TV programme?
Any nature programme, especially ones on birds. There are some fabulous documentary programmes.

How do you relax?
Birdwatching and flying birds. It is so relaxing flying falcons and hawks.

What job did you want to do when you were a child?
I always wanted to do something that was linked to wildlife, maybe a vet. I went out with my father Nicholas when I was young to catch goldfinches and linnets. It isn’t legal now I must stress, but years ago you could catch these birds and keep them as pets. They had beautiful singing voices and lived happily in cages. My father would catch the birds and give them away to people who could give them a good home. I picked up my love of birds form doing this.

Where would you like to go for your holidays?
Rome – We (The Gateway Singers) are going at the end of June to sing in Venice. We will also have an audience with the Pope.

Your idea of hell?

Being the only Leeds and Celtic fan in a room full of drunk Rangers and Manchester United fans.

What famous people would you invite around for dinner and why?
David Attenborough - he could talk about his latest series Life in Cold blood, which explores the lives of amphibians and reptiles.

Favourite animal?
No surprise, my birds and two dogs.

Biggest fear?
I really do not like to see injections. I am not squeamish; I can look at hospital dramas and operations. I just don’t like to see the blood being sucked out of people.

Biggest thrill?
Finding birds nests of special interest such as the Hen Harrier.

The world’s most irritating invention?
That would have to be the JCB. They destroy the countryside and wildlife habitats.

Personal philosophy?
Never give up.

Which period in history would you most like to have lived through?
2000 years BC The days when falconry hunting was the main means of bringing food to the table.

World’s most useful invention?
The computer. It is fantastic for keeping the records of bird nest findings and documenting wildlife photographs. (You can see some of Martins photos on

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