One of the stranger items of news I heard this week was that someone paid a million pounds for a pigeon! Apparently, it’s not just any old flea-ridden pidgeon, but a real champion among the feathered racing community.
Named ‘Armando’, this feathery bundle of cooing has been bought by a Chinese businessman. A million pounds though? I know in the past, I’ve paid about nine quid (£9) for a budgie when the children were growing up. That died after a couple of weeks and left me bemoaning my financial loss. So why would someone who lives on the other side of the world pay £1,000,000 for a pigeon? Seeking answers from the internet, it seems the Chinese are avid lovers of pigeon racing. Armando seems to be the aviarian equivalent to Pele or Usain Bolt and is very much coveted by the Chinese.
There was an online auction for the bird, I don’t think it was ebay though. The Belgian sellers obviously knew they had a cash cow or cash coo-coo on their hands. So it started and the competition at the outset was fierce, culminating with the final million squid bid. I had visions of a cloth-capped Belgian wearing hobnailed boots, sat in his garden shed watching the bids come in on his old Nokia phone. However, it turns out to be a professional setup, similar to horse breeding stables. The Chinese have purchased Armando to breed from him.
Now, I know very little about racing pigeons or racing any other animals. My understanding is that you take Armando together with another lot of pigeons to a place away from their homes. Once released, they somehow make their way back, Armando usually being first. How they do that is way beyond my comprehension. However, it does raise a question or two. When this bird arrives in China, will he want to make his way straight back to Belgium? Surely, that’s what the bird will think is happening, they’re taking him to a place to fly back from, albeit on the other side of the world?
You can see the guy who sold it being woken one morning by tapping on his bedroom window. There on the window sill is Armando, recently arrived from China! It’s going to happen, isn’t it? Have a great weekend.
The original story broke here: Armando