Pigeon Racing

by | Nov 24, 2020


Some people consider pigeons the rats of the sky. Others see a seven figure investment.

Recently, a two-week auction at the PIPA Pigeon Center ended with a Belgian-bred bird going for $1.9 million. The birds are born and trained in China to be sold into the world of racing. 

The sport involves releasing the birds hundreds of miles away and betting on how fast they make their way back. Thanks to the pigeon’s speed and sense of direction, it doesn’t take long. The prize money can hit tens of millions of euros. 

The breeder who sold the bird for the high price calls the auction a good weekend. He says he took over the business when his father retired at 76. He says it’s a close-knit community of breeders who mix and mate their birds to produce the best on the market. 

Breeders often hold practice races to see which birds stand out. During these training sessions, birds are released as far away as Spain and France and their journey back is tracked on the radio. 

I’ll bet the birds are well fed. 

Brian Banmiller

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CBS News Radio national business journalist Brian Banmiller has spent more than 40 years in the news industry, covering business, politics and the economy on television, radio and in print. Currently, his “Banmiller on Business” reports are delivered to an audience of millions nationwide.

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