The Southern Belle

Want to know more about this bird, Wayne Klein and the Churn Creek Loft Breeding Program

Wayne Klein

Churn Creek Loft

Southern Belle Race – Milton FL
Station: Milton Florida – A Race

Distance: 328 Miles

Release: 04-Nov-2015 07:15

Weather Release: Partly Cloudy    Arrival: Partly Cloudy

Wind at Release: N 2     Wind at Arrival: ESE 7

Temp at Release: 64°    Temp at Arrival: 86°

Lofts: 74

Birds: 166

Clocked: 3

Warming up last 100 Miles
Drops Pos Breeder Pigeon Name Color Sex Ent Arrival Speed To Win Eligible Avg P100 P300
1 Churn Creek Loft 9216-AU15-SRP BB H 1 2015-11-05 09:34:40.00 677.824 00:00:00 Yes
2 Crestview Loft 25357-AU15-ARPU BB H 1 2015-11-05 09:55:46.00 661.437 00:21:05 Yes
3 Kwan Loft 0429-AU15-KWAN GRIZ H 1 2015-11-05 10:05:40.00 654.018 00:31:00 Yes



(Not to be confused with other birds named the same)

Uno is out of a pair of Alex Bieche birds that my sons purchased for me in 2012 from Alex. The cock (12336-2012) and the hen (12469-2012) produced six young in 2013. Two of the young were lost as young birds, two were flown as young birds but didn’t do much and the other two blue Bars were placed in the Shasta Classic. Uno was the first bird accepted in the Classic, thus his name. His sister from the second clutch was also entered in the Classic

In ten training flights leading up to the official starting race, he was not very impressive and with the exception of two of the flights, his sister finished ahead of him and was much more impressive.

The first official race was from 148 miles and the birds bucked a head wind all the way with gusts to 20mph. Uno was 5th on a seven bird first drop. His sister was 49th out of well over 400 birds.

Race two was from 200 miles and he came in 200th. His sister was 13th. This race had a tail wind.

Race three was from 317 miles. Uno was 19th and his sister was 15th. Both finished in the money. In the final 360, Uno was 50th and his sister was 46th. Their overall average was Uno 15th and his sister was 19th. Not too bad for my first real one loft race.

I elected to keep his sister as a breeder but I felt that I had better cock birds to raise 2014 birds from, so Uno was surplus. I asked Dan Welch (who put on the Shasta Classic) if he was interested in flying Uno in the local club old bird races since Uno was accustomed to flying from that location. He agreed and I was pleased because it was a win-win situation for me. Now I could see how the bird might do in his second year.

Tim Skalland flew out of the same loft so the competition was intense between Dan and Tim. In the 2014 Old Bird Season, with the exception of one race, Uno came in on every first drop to the loft and grabbed a first place along the way.

I had given the bird, along with the pedigree to Dan but he consistently referred to “our” bird. It got to be a joke in the club. I even tried to officially transfer the ownership of the bird in front of the entire membership at one of our meetings. Finally I thought I was out of the Uno picture.

Early in 2015, Dan Welch passed away and Uno along with Dan’s better birds were made available to club members. At first, two of the members were going to take him as they thought he had Rocket/Sure Bet breeding in his ancestry. I corrected that misconception as his breeding was Bold Ruler on both sides. No one wanted Uno and he was scheduled to be sold with all of Dan’s remaining birds to a new flyer out of Oregon. Tim pulled him out for me to look at one last time as I had not had him “in hand” for over a year. Uno had developed into an exceptionally good feeling bird. He obviously was worthy of a place in someone’s breeding program.

That night, on the way back to his residence in Round Mountain, Tim realized that Uno was still in a crate in the back of his pickup. All of the rest of Dan’s birds were on their way to Oregon, so Uno was the sole survivor. Tim called and we laughed about Uno and his ability to survive.

A couple of days later, Tim called and asked what I wanted to do with Uno. By this time I was tired of hearing about Uno and told Tim that even though he belonged to Dan’s wife now I would take him back. Tim stopped me and said that Ahsan Khan was there going thru his birds and wanted Uno as a breeder. Finally, with my blessing, Uno has a new home in a very good breeding program. Something tells me that we may not have heard the last of a very special bird.

I still have his parents and plan to put them back together for a late hatch pairing. This will be the first time they have been together since 2013 and who knows, maybe there is another Uno yet to be hatched.

Wayne Klein

Churn Creek Loft





Good friend and fellow flyer Dan Welch passed away on the morning of Jan 25th. Not only did we lose an excellent pigeon flyer, we lost one of the best one-loft races in this country. The SHASTA CLASSIC was owned and operated by Dan and wife Linda for the last nine years and most of the top one-loft flyers in the country flew birds with Dan. He and the Classic will be missed.

My first hatch has received shots, been fledged and awaiting delivery to various selected one-loft races after the final grading. I have added four more lofts this year. My two primary lofts are now the Sierra Classic and the Southern Belle which I have no problem recommending. If you had perches with the Shasta Classic, you might want to do a little research on the Hoosier Classic, which was one of Dan’s favorites and readily recommended by him. I took his advice and that race is now one I am sending birds to. CAUTION: Several of the more popular races are filling fast with the loss of the Shasta Classic.

This year I have bred for a longer range bird by crossing some of my Alex Bieche birds in with my well proven short distance Alias-Alias birds. I will also enter some straight Bieche birds that have done well for me in the distance races at the club level. Only time will tell if I made the right pairings this year.

Life is short but made much more enjoyable when you have pigeons to race.


Wayne Klein                                           

Churn Creek Loft



Due to sometimes heavy rains, I have not been loft flying my surplus birds. I was surprised when I heard panic in the pens and saw a Coopers Hawk just leaving the left side of my loft and was then gone. I didn’t think too much about it until 5 days later, the same Coopers was back, but this time I was able to see what was taking place.

On both sides of my loft, I have slatted, hinged drop-down release points. My birds are released thru these openings but are not permitted to return thru them. I close them once the birds are out forcing the returning birds to use the traps.

During some recent heavy winds, the top slat on the left side had fallen off permitting English Sparrows to enter the loft. I do not like having the sparrows inside for potential disease problems but had procrastinated in fixing the problem.

Back to the point. The Coop swooped in and took one of the sparrows as it exited the loft and was gone with the catch. That observation explained the first visit by the same hawk and pointed out a flaw in my original article.

To be truly a non-feeding area for the Coopers, I have to remove the sparrows as a food source close to my loft. First, I need to fix the missing slat and continue my practice of not having feed available outside of my loft. During the summer I have had a water source under the right hand release opening for the local doves, quail, pheasants and of course those pesky sparrows. That is now going to be moved 50 yards down the driveway. Just another adaptation in my constant war with the Coopers hawk.

After two days in a shipping box, my small hen (3311-Southern Belle) arrived from her vacation in Florida in excellent condition. She is probably my number two hen with all the things I want in a breeder. On top of that she has proven herself against the best. As soon as she clears quarantine she gets introduced to her new mate and joins seven other breeder pairs. Those pairs are now together.

On another matter: It is time to reserve perches in those one-loft races that start accepting birds Feb. 1st. Several of the more popular races tend to hit their maximums early. I have reserved 12 spots in four races so far and need to add a couple of more within the next week. I plan to add a couple of late hatch races but will wait on those until their current races are complete. Now, I have to go and replace that slat before I forget it again.

May your hens be fertile and their offspring competitive.

Wayne Klein
Churn Creek Loft


As a novice flyer, I like One-Loft racing because it permits me to test my birds against birds entered by some of the best flyers in the country. All birds entered receive the same care and training thus removing me from the equation except for initial selection of birds selected for any given race. Originally, I entered the wrong races for the wrong reasons and I simply did not have the best quality birds to compete with.
Obviously, if you are reading this, you have computer capability and can access which is one of my primary sources of research. I initially followed every race I could find using the following criteria. As time went by, I was able to eliminate some races to the point where I am down to less than a dozen that I now follow.
The following are my personal criteria for selecting a one-loft race. However, it is only one opinion and I encourage the reader to seek others.
1. I want an operator that, first and foremost, has the well-being of the birds entrusted as his number one priority.
2. I cannot evaluate number 1 unless the operator provides adequate, honest feedback on the web site.
3. Health issues are a major item with me. I send my birds in good health, I expect to get them returned to me in the same condition.
4. Flexibility in changing race course, distance, or dates is getting to be more important to me. I personally think that there is too much adherence to the schedule so that the operator can have the last race on a previously published date where extensive festivities are planned. The rebuttal to this by some operators is that if even one bird makes it home, the best bird won. I personally think that statement violates my number one criteria.
5. Losses: This was originally my number one. I kept loss percentages on virtually every one-loft race in the country and it seemed to serve my purpose. Then along came the 2014 race season. We will never know what caused the problem but there were unexplained losses world-wide. Was it solar flares, increased cell phone usage with the advent of more efficient cell towers, or was it some other climatic condition. We will never know for sure because we still do not know how the homing instinct works in our birds. I still watch for operators making dumb decisions but also take into consideration that losses can be beyond the operator’s control.

I suggest to the first time one-loft flyer that you select for your first race, one that you can visit and get to know the operator. It permits you to hand carry your birds and readily replace one if the bird is lost early in training. Ask other one-loft flyers for their thinking. If you value their opinions, there is nothing like a solid recommendation.

In 2014, I entered 4 races. In 2015, I intend to enter at least six and maybe more depending on the quality of young birds produced. I have proved what I set out to prove to myself and that was that I have birds capable of competing. By re-pairing some breeders and obtaining a couple of long course breeders, I hope to extend my success out to the distance races. The added benefit of getting a bird back that I can use in my breeding program is an obvious plus.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the extreme pressure that successful One-Loft managers are under to provide us, the flyer, with a quality experience. The one thing they do not need during the racing season is to answer emails that are negative in nature. Most operators will try to answer positive emails as they get time. After the season is over, and if your concerns have not been met, you always have the choice of going to a different race the following year.

With only two years of quality one-loft racing under my belt, I have no hesitation in recommending the Shasta Classic, Sierra Classic, and Southern Belle for your consideration. This in no way implies that they are the best or the only-they simply fulfilled my personal criteria.

At the very least, I hope this brief article has stimulated some of you to continue your research on One-Loft racing. Have a good and successful 2015 in whatever type of racing you participate in.

Wayne Klein
Churn Creek Loft
(Feel free to contact me at to insure that I get your comments and constructive criticism.)


This article offers some loft management practices that work for the author and might be of benefit to the reader.

It is important to understand the feeding habits of the Cooper Hawk. In the non-nesting season, they are only feeding themselves and normally hunt from sun-up for a couple of hours and then again in the evening for the last few hours of the day. If they score during the morning hours, they seem to spend the rest of the day honing their hunting skills by harassing their prey.

Even though they might not be in a killing mood, they can wreak havoc on your birds by scaring your birds off of the loft and into windows, trees, power-lines, etc.

During the nesting season, they will hunt throughout the day. At this time, they prefer smaller prey that they can carry intact back to the nest. Since their nesting coincides with other wild birds in the area, they seem to concentrate on newly hatched/fledged wild birds. This is not to say that they will totally avoid pigeons but they are constantly hunting and don’t seem to have time to sit in a tree and watch your loft.

Young fledgling Coopers initially hunt the native species imitating their parents, again hunting where their success is the greatest. Although not as efficient as their parents, they can certainly cause our birds to go into panic flight.

Coopers, like all wild birds are opportunistic feeders. If they find a source of food to their liking, they will stay with it until it becomes unproductive, and then move on to another area. They might visit several areas in a day or the same area several times but common sense tells us that if it becomes unproductive, they move on looking for new sources.

So, what does the above have to do with the topic? It has everything to do with learning to live with all raptors. If you do not understand your adversary, you are going to lose the battle and this is one battle I was determined not to lose. I refuse to let my loft become a feeding area for any winged predator. The following have permitted me to go from several birds lost to raptors 5 years ago to only one lost in 2013. To me, that is acceptable.

First and foremost, my birds have to feel secure in their loft and want to return to the security and comfort of their home. If birds are overcrowded in the loft, you have already lost part of the battle. I have been to lofts where there are too many birds for the perches and some end up sitting on the floor. The birds on the floor will probably be lost very quickly to raptors simply because they do not want to enter the loft to get bullied onto the floor. These same birds will linger outside where they are vulnerable to attack. I want a bare minimum of 20% more perches than I have birds in the loft.

Some flyers persist in giving their birds free access in and out of the loft once in awhile with the comment that they are letting their “pigeons be pigeons” and let them play in the sprinklers and fly around in the trees. We are not flying park Pigeons, we are flying birds that are trained to fly from the release point to their loft in the shortest time possible, and then trap in without delay.

The absolute, most vulnerable time for my flock is when I am releasing young birds for their first flight. I start preparing the birds for their first flight at least two weeks before their actual release. A wire enclosed cage is placed on the landing board and the trap boards are raised to permit free access in both directions. (Note: I originally used trap bobs but changed over to making the birds trap in under a board set at an angle because I had a Coopers go thru my trap bobs.) It takes a day or two for all birds to start using the new enclosure but before long they are out looking at the surrounding area and sunning themselves. They are able to see vultures and red-tail hawks soaring overhead and soon learn that they are not a threat. However, the first time a blue jay comes in towards their enclosure, they dive thru the trap. They seem to know instinctively that the rapidly approaching bird may be a threat. They are learning that an unidentified, fast approaching bird is to be avoided. The last couple of days before release, I wait until all, or most of the birds are in the enclosure, then I set the traps and let them trap back in. After a couple of days of this, they are ready for release. On the day before release, their last feeding is at 3P.M. and then what they do not eat is pulled away.

Then comes the big day of Release: I start watching for Coopers Hawks until I am relatively certain that none are in the immediate area. The traps are opened and the birds can come out for the first time without the enclosure. Some birds will immediately turn around and go back in the loft when they see that the enclosure is not in place. Most will come out and go to the loft top. Occasionally one will just take off, never to be seen again. If most of the birds have exited, I then set the traps for the ones that are out and then sit and watch the chaos of first flight. Not all birds will fly and some come right back to the landing board and trap in. Others make a short flight and then trap in. Others are out for a few hours and then trap in. Some try to go to the ground and I immediately put them back in the air. This year (2013) I had two “Fly-Aways” (one of which came home on the fifth day) but all others trapped in. The second day went better with all birds exiting the trap and returning thru the traps within 4 hours. Note that I stay visible outside the loft during these first releases to discourage raptor attacks.

Day three: All birds exited the loft and all except one took flight. Birds were going in all directions. The one remaining bird was on the roof top when out of nowhere, a Coopers hit the bird and took it to the ground. I got to the two birds and scared the Coopers off only to have my bird take off towards the trees with the Coopers in pursuit. I later found the bird under a neighbors oak tree where the Coopers had eaten the edible portions and left the un-edible remains. This was the only bird that I knowingly lost to a Coopers Hawk during 2013. The birds that were still out were in the stratosphere and were loosely in two flocks. It might be a very long day. Surprisingly, all birds, except one were in by 2:00PM and the missing bird showed up the next morning.

For the next three days my birds were in loft lockdown for the sole purpose of not having birds available to the Coopers. Again, this was done to keep the hawks from establishing a feeding area at or near my loft. Once I resumed flying, I was able to have all my birds flock flying within 10 days which meant the only time they would be vulnerable was when they returned to the loft. By flying them hungry, they readily trapped in. Once all birds Loft fly together, their time on the roof is usually well under a minute before they are safe and secure in the loft.

When flying young birds, I try keeping the cocks and hens separated. As a young bird starts showing an interest in the hens he is moved into the adjoining flight with the cocks. They can see each other thru the wire separating the two sexes but they can’t get together. This does two things for me. First, it keeps the pens a lot quieter which results in more rest for my birds between races. I also loft fly the sexes separately with the hens going out first and once the hens are all in, the cocks are released. The big advantage is that when the cocks return home, they rapidly trap in to get back next to the hens thus removing them from the outside where they are vulnerable to attack. I do not consider it a form of “widowhood”. I see it as a way of keeping my loft from being a raptor feeding area.

I previously mentioned flying my initial releases hungry. I do the same thing for all my loft flying (young and old birds alike) and training out to 100 miles, without exception. I want these birds to immediately trap in and not be vulnerable to attack. My feeding procedures do change during the racing season. When birds come home from races they will sometimes be a little slow to trap in due to being tired or just wondering where everyone else is but that does not open my birds to attack as the raptors have long since found other feeding areas.

I tried late afternoon or evening loft flying but soon gave that idea up for two basic reasons. First was that I couldn’t fly the birds hungry without going all day without feed prior to release. Second and more important was that some birds didn’t trap in before dark and then became subject to Great horned owl attack during the night. There is the additional problem of a raptor making an attack on birds that are out right at dark causing birds to not be able to trap in or land anywhere. Although I have never experienced this situation, I understand that birds will fly all night with substantial losses reported. It is easier for me to just totally eliminate these problems by only flying my birds in the morning.

As I add more birds to the loft (2nd and 3rd clutch), I simply let them decide when to start flying with the flock. If these late arrivals do not want to exit the loft, I do not force them out. It was a surprise to me how quickly they flew with the flock and trapped back in with the rest of the flight.

There are probably fifteen other pigeon lofts within a ten mile radius of my loft. Some of those lofts plus a few common pigeons in the area (less now than there were 5 years ago due to an increase in the raptor population) are the present raptor pigeon feeding areas which takes the pressure off of my loft.

I realize that some flyers, due to employment schedules, etc., cannot spend the time that I do outside with my birds during the initial releases but that is the critical period and every effort should be made to have someone visible on the ground. Have I totally solved my raptor problem? Absolute not, but I feel that I can find some way to adapt to any unforeseen threat.

I am now in the position of flying some very good birds with at least a fighting chance of retaining them for breeders and/or future race competition.

Wayne Klein

Churn Creek Loft

Redding, California

Southern Belle Race

November 18th 2014. The final Southern Belle race is now history. It was a tough race with the best birds coming in in the top ten places. My 3311 had a great series of races and proves to me that my loft CAN BE COMPETITIVE against some very good breeders. This bird is definitely a “keeper” and goes into my breeding program for 2015. I am entered in the High Desert Yearling Classic with two other local flyers listed under overthehillgang which will be fun to watch.

Bookmark this site to view future submitted pigeon articles. Thanks for visiting my site and have a good 2015.

Wayne Klein – Churn Creek Loft



Tomorrow, November 16, 2014 closes out my One Loft season for the year. Through no fault of the operators, siblings to the birds listed below were lost in the Shasta and Sierra Classics. That leaves me with two birds in the Southern Belle.

Changing subject matter for a minute, I cannot say enough positive about the operation of the Southern Belle. Shane Phitides ran his first One Loft race with total commitment to the welfare of the birds entrusted to his care. Breeders were very well informed and he made positive changes as he went along. He was not restricted by pre announcing his schedule of races which other operators might want to consider.

With that said, my two birds in the Southern Belle are doing well. 3305 is out of a Tim Skalland cock that was purchased in a five bird kit in 2013. The hen was bred by Jim Miller in Los Molinos, Ca. and is heavy “Rocket” on the father’s side and various “Mattens” on the mother’s side. Jim and I trade young birds back and forth to improve our individual breeding stock. I keep hoping that 3305 kicks in in this last race.

3311 is a different story. If this bird does nothing in the last race it has proved to me that it may be the best bird I will ever own. The father was another bird purchased from Tim Scalland in the five bird kit in 2013. That bird, Alias 164 goes back to double “Rocket” breeding. The mother descends from Grandfathers “Rocket” on the father’s side and “Sure Bet” on the mother’s side and is full sister to the father of 3305.

Obviously I do not adhere to the thinking that discussing these birds might “jinx” their chances tomorrow.

I encourage the reader to check back periodically because the real purpose of this site is to permit me to “self” publish articles that I think might be of interest to the novice breeder. Feel free to contact me by email and I will respond to those that are positive in nature.

Wayne Klein November 15, 2014




Note: This article appeared in the October 2013 issue of Racing Pigeon Digest

On Aug 15th, my wife and I took our young bird race team to Vina to fly the eastern route of our South to North race course for the forth-coming 2013 yb races. I released the first crate of nine birds from a location just east of the Vina Fire Station after spending about 10 minutes scanning the sky for any falcons. The Vina Plains are notorious for having Prairie Falcons year around.

The first nine headed north flying an S pattern until they were out of sight. Fifteen minutes later the next eleven birds were released and started north flying the same S pattern but abruptly veered to the east and two birds left the flock, one to the west and one to the east. The western bird came due south just west of me and was joined by another bird that I at first thought was another pigeon. The closer they got to my location the faster they flew and it dawned on me that a Merlin Falcon was in hot pursuit of one of my birds.

NOTE: My location was on a slightly elevated county road with fencing on both sides of the roadway which put the fence top only a couple of feet above the roadway.( I released right off the road) The nearest power line was at least one half mile away and the nearest tree was probably a mile distant. The highest point in the surrounding area was my dodge van. The following action took place within no more than 250 yards of our vehicle.

The Falcon would close the gap and just at the right instant, the pigeon would veer off and the falcon would get right on it again and this scenario continued eight or nine times until the falcon made closed talon contact and the pigeon started down about 100 yards south of us—-then an amazing thing happened. The pigeon with the falcon in hot pursuit headed directly at us. As they approached, I raised my arms and yelled. The falcon went skyward and the pigeon landed on the top of the van for a moment and then dropped to the ground and got into the undercarriage of the vehicle.

My wife and I stared at each other is disbelief. We had just seen an event that most pigeon breeders will never see in their lifetime and more important, my bird was safe, at least for the present. Now the challenge was to retrieve the bird. We could see her in the undercarriage and she was obviously traumatized. My wife suggested that we give her time to calm down.

While we were waiting for her to calm down, we reflected back on why she didn’t flare off when I yelled, like the falcon did. Obviously, the falcon was a bigger threat than I was. The pigeon had seen and heard me do the same thing when I want them to get off the roof at home, and I was wearing the same clothes I always wear, and she was very familiar with the van. Regardless, she was safe under the car. Now, how do I physically get my hands on her without her flying out and again encountering the Falcon.

The van sits too close to the ground to crawl under and I couldn’t see endangering either of us crawling under a jacked up car. My wife finally kept reaching under with a lug wrench until I could reach her in the front wheel suspension. She didn’t resist at all. The only damage to the bird is that her new ninth and tenth primary flights have very small V notches at the end of each flight, apparently from the pressure exerted on those flights to escape the falcon. The remaining 20 birds were transported farther north and released. My little pigeon ( hen #0258) rode home in the comfort of the van and all the others made it home none the worse for wear. The little hen will dictate her own future. If she wants to resume flying then that is what she will do. If she doesn’t want to venture out of the loft, so be it. On thing is certain, she provided quite a show and left us with an appreciation for the will to survive that is found in every bird in our sport.

Wayne Klein

Churn Creek Loft