"The Ferraris of the Bird World"

To many people, pigeons are rats with wings, but to some, they're the "Ferraris of the bird world." And they've got the price tags to prove it:

To the average observer, they look like ordinary pigeons, caged into a balcony in a high-rise Beijing apartment. But make no mistake. These cooing birds, according to breeder Yang Shibo, are like top-of-the-line sports cars.

"These are the Ferraris of the bird world," he says. "They're the most expensive, and the fastest."

The price of racing pigeons is soaring sky-high, pushed up by wealthy Chinese buyers.

It's the latest market to be inflated by the China Effect — or massive demand from China — which has pushed up commodity prices on everything from Australian iron ore to Brazilian soybeans.

And in China, pigeons can be lucrative. Yang Shibo's best bird, a German pigeon, cost more than $1,000 back in 2001. Its descendants have earned him around $150,000 in prize money.

The highest price ever paid for a racing pigeon in China? $328,000. Now that's definitely something to cluck about.

NPR's Louisa Lim has the story: Link (Photo: Louisa Lim/NPR)

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