After a flurry of bidding in the last half-hour, a Belgian racing pigeon sold Sunday for a world record $1.89 million—a gravity-defying bid that's more than anyone expected, Reuters reports. "These record prices are unbelievable, because this is a female," said Nikolaas Gyselbrecht, chief executive of Pipa, the auction house. "Usually a male is worth more than a female because it can produce more offspring." But New Kim, who was rated the best young bird in Belgium, has age on her side. She's 2 years old, giving her about eight years to breed. New Kim was retired early after racing just once.
Prices have risen, especially for Belgian birds, as long-distance racing has become popular among Chinese fans, per Reuters. The sport's center is Belgium, Gyselbrecht said, where "you have 20,000 pigeon fanciers in a very small country competing with each other on a very high level." He compared it to soccer in Europe's Champions League. Calling her "the star of the auction," Pipa has more about New Kim here. "We are in total shock,” said the pigeon's previous owner. (Read more pigeon stories.)