Today I learned that pigeon racing is, in fact, a thing.
Aside from what they do on phone wires, pigeons are very pleasant animals. They clean up waste, they make cute sounds, and they can be trained to perform various helpful tasks. Apparently, one of those tasks is high-speed racing. Yes, pigeon racing is, in fact, a thing, and a surprisingly profitable thing at that. Pigeon breeders, many of whom got their start training messenger pigeons during wartime, are now highly sought after by a very select clientele for this esoteric sport. Recently, one exceptional pigeon sold for an unheard of sum of $1.9 million.
Belgian pigeon breeder Gaston Van de Wouwer recently decided to retire from his profession at the age of 76. Since nobody in his family was willing to take the reins, he decided to auction off his entire stable of racing-ready pigeons. 445 birds were put up for sale, the cumulative profits from which have already totaled over 6 million euros, about $7 million USD. A large chunk of that profit came from a single pigeon by the name of New Kim.
A racing pigeon from Belgium has set a new record after being sold for $1.9m.
Just something light for your Monday ☺️
Must be a very fast pigeon.
— Matt Munson (@mattmuns) November 16, 2020
New Kim, a two-year-old female, was initially listed for auction at 200 euros, nothing especially interesting. New Kim has won several competitions since her birth, but has since retired and is no longer in racing shape. Nevertheless, a mysterious buyer from China known only as “Super Duper” absolutely had to have this bird, laying down an unprecedented 1.6 million euros, or $1.9 million, absolutely blowing away the Van de Wouwer family. This sale has set a new record for single-pigeon transactions (a sentence I wasn’t expecting to write today), beating out the previous record of 1.25 million euros.
While no details have been divulged about the buyer, several pigeon racing enthusiasts suspect that New Kim will be used to breed a new generation of competition-ready birds.