Let’s hear it for Birdy!

Birdy is the best-performing racer in the 14-year history of the Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race. Thomas Smit looks at this remarkable bird and its offspring.

Bred by the German partners Berkhurt Sudhoff and Willi Van Beers, Birdy is a bold blue-barred hen with extraordinary muscles and a fair pearl eye – any showman’s dream. When this 2008 Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race (SCMDPR) Champion pigeon was auctioned for a new South African and World One-Day Loft record price of R800 000, she became a household name in the racing fraternity.

Top performing family
Birdy, now owned by South African champion pigeon fancier Mark Kitchenbrand, is among the top performing pigeons in the world. She was the 2008 SCMDPR Grand Averages Points Champion, arriving only eight minutes behind the front fliers on all training flights in that series. She was also the Knock-out Champion in the same competition, with the most consistent performance in the five longest flights. That year she brought in over US 000 (about R484 000) in prize money.

And her gene pool has produced winning offspring. According to breeders Sudhoff and Van Beers, Birdy’s three sisters have won 14 race events in Germany between them and one of her brothers was a Points League Averages Winner in the US.Birdy’s sire is now the grandfather of a pigeon known as 824, which has sired five highly successful winners.

The sire’s mother is bred from the foundation pigeon Carl Lewis owned by Hardy Kruger from Germany and mated to Naomi to form a world-renowned “click pair”. One of Hardy Kruger’s pigeons won a car and another came third in the final of 2009 SCMDPR. Both are in the Birdy family tree.

Now in South Africa
South African champion fancier Andre Carelsen has raced two of Birdy’s grandchildren, bred in April 2010 out of one of his Sierens/Oscar cocks (BB Cock 35374/2010) that has achieved some impressive results. In the past year four of Birdy’s babies have been sold to South African pigeon fanciers. Juan Breitenbach bred two late-breds with 2010 rings which produced a Club win by 13 minutes and a fifth Union in the Open series (Old Birds).

And one of Birdy’s grandchildren, flying in the Pretoria Combine as a late-bred, has successfully scored at the top in the entire combine in the short racing series. At the South African Prestige Invitational Pigeon Race (SAPIR) Birdy’s offspring achieved two second places in different Hot Spot races. Naomi, also a SAPIR pigeon, has flown very consistently and is a full “brother and sister” mating, with the dam being Birdy.

In Mark’s own loft in Alberton, he has two Birdy grandchildren. The one achieved a third in the Derby race at Club level and Top 20 at Federation level, the other achieved a third in the Union Alberton Club and a 13th in the overall Union. These pigeons were flown very conservatively because Mark wanted to gauge their performance as two-year-olds. Mark Kitchenbrand Lofts will soon be launching their new website and ask that fanciers provide them with reference letters to substantiate all the Birdy family’s performances.

Contact Thomas Smit on 011 680 4778 or e-mail [email protected]