Every day at lunchtime, the birds circle over the Dyckerhoffbruch garbage dump in Wiesbaden. As soon as the garbage trucks are emptied, their hour strikes. You fly into the almost 4000 square meter hall to the large piles of household and organic waste and start looking for something to eat. That doesn't bother the waste disposal companies of the state capital Wiesbaden - and the ornithologist Reinhard Vohwinkel is happy. Because in this hall an unusually large number of black kites gather, which he can catch for a short time - an otherwise rather difficult undertaking. "This is unique in Germany," says the volunteer at the Helgoland ornithological station, which is also responsible for Hesse.

He has already traveled a lot through the world in the footsteps of birds.

He was in Panama to catch toucans.

In Sweden he equipped geese with a transmitter, in Spain he dealt with eagle owls.

"I am always called in when people have problems catching birds," says the specialist with the many nets.

It could also be a bird that got lost in a supermarket.

"Versatile and opportunistic"

A few years ago such an order took him to the landfill site in Wiesbaden for the first time.

A stork had injured itself and when Vohwinkel approached he saw the black kites circling.

“There were definitely 10 to 15 people who flew into the hall,” he enthuses today.

Since then, he has been traveling twice a year from his hometown in Velbert, North Rhine-Westphalia, to Wiesbaden to catch the kites for a short time with a net.

On bad days there are five animals, on good days 30 birds go into his net.

Vohwinkel measures, weighs, photographs and rings them - then he releases the animals again.

His hope of staying on the trail of the animals with the rings has so far been in vain.

"Nobody has reported yet that they have caught or found such a bird."

The black kite is widespread in the Rhine-Main area, but prefers to spend the cold season in Africa. According to the nature conservation association Nabu, his diet is "varied and opportunistic". He picks up live or dead fish from the surface of the water with his claws. But he has become so used to people that meat waste is also on his menu. "He's like an environmental police," jokes Vohwinkel. Black kites have the same function as vultures in other countries - they disposed of dead animals.

Keywords: