Dr. Wolfgang Fiedler, head of the Radolfzell ornithological station, was practically born into his profession. Born on the Mettnau peninsula, which is close to the station, Fiedler spent hours and hours watching birds as a child. Later, when he was at school, he worked as a volunteer in the ornithological station.
Fiedler finds his work fascinating as it brings him close to biology and life, enabling him to understand the complexity of life in its entirety. He is also glad that his work is not only academic work but that it also brings him into contact with other people, for example with the many volunteers and laypeople who regularly contact the institute with specific questions. The most frequent question in summer is, “I think I have just seen a hummingbird. Do you think this is possible?” The institute’s staff has the answer off pat: “No, it was not a hummingbird but a hummingbird hawk-moth, moths about 5 cm in size, with a long proboscis. The moths hover and make a humming noise, two features that make them look remarkably like a hummingbird. Despairing car drivers contact Wolfgang Fiedler because of a wagtail that catches sight of its reflection in the lateral rear-view mirror. The animal, which believes that the mirror image is a competitor, becomes enraged and fights the enemy to the point of near exhaustion, thereby completely damaging the varnish of the car. The ornithologist has the solution for such situations: Cover up the mirror to make the ‘enemy’ invisible.