The first thing Mark Kitchenbrand did after investing R800 000 to buy Birdy in the South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race (SAMDPR) auction of the top 100-placed pigeons was to kiss his wife Naomi – then they both kissed Birdy. But even Mark could not have foretold what lay ahead.
In fact, when, in the winter of 2007, the German partnership Südhoff & Van Beers chose to enter a young Blue Bar racing pigeon they named ‘Birdy’ into the annual SAMDPR, nobody knew what an astounding impact this fine pearl-eyed hen would have on the global pigeon scene.
The selection of its parents was the result of skilful pigeon breeding over a number of generations. Only ‘key pigeons’ from the very best bloodlines in the world were considered good enough to be used as genetic building material.
The finest sires and dams
Birdy’s sire, As-Vogel 1687, is itself an Ace Racer and foundation breeder. Birdy’s sire’s dam is a daughter of Carl Lewis and Naomi – a world-renowned ‘click pair’. Birdy’s dam is from the cream of the gene pool of world champion breeder Louis Van Loon.
In addition, Birdy has countless near-kin superstars – Terry, Playboy, James and many more – around the world. Birdy is the best- performing pigeon in the SAMDPR’s 20-year history. From the first road training flight held on 10 November 2007, in the SAMDPR pre-finals, Birdy showed her class in a field of 3 821 pigeons from around the world.
Birdy subsequently finished no fewer than 10 times within the top 32 positions of the 24 published flights of the SAMDPR Series. She came 13th, 14th, 15th, 114th and 310th on the five longer Hot Spot road training flights held prior to the final event. In the SAMDPR Final on 2 February 2008, Birdy came 10th of 2 866 pigeons. It was a performance most pigeons that have worked so hard in the pre-finals would not have had the strength to manage – 552km in a nine-hour flight with temperatures reaching 35°C.
Birdy’s consistency clinched her the titles of SAMDPR 2008 Knock-Out Competition Champion, Grand Average Ace Pigeon, and Hot Spot Average Ace Pigeon. Now Birdy the ‘ace racer’ has become Birdy the ‘ace breeder’, passing on her extraordinary genetic strength to her offspring.