Saudi trader looks at pigeons during an auction in Riyadh February 2, 2009. Buyers come from all over to buy and sell some of the many unusual looking pigeons among them from countries such as Korea, Australia, France, and  Romania, as well as pigeons specially bred. Pigeons can fetch between a  few hundreds Riyals up to hundreds of thousands of Riyals at auction.  Shadeed  (SAUDI ARABIA)
A trader looks at pigeons during an auction in Riyadh. A pair of exotic pigeons can sell for about Dh3,000.

Price rises a coup for bird dealers

SHARJAH // The prices paid for exotic birds have soared across the country this year because of global restrictions on bird imports that were imposed during the avian flu epidemic of 2007, proving a boon for dealers. At the beginning of the year Ismail Abdulrahman Mansoor, a Syrian bird dealer based in Sharjah, sold 21 pairs of exotic pigeons for Dh27,000 (US$7,350), or about Dh1,300 a pair.

"But now I can sell a pair of the same birds for about Dh3,000," Mr Mansoor said, noting a price hike of more than 50 per cent in just two months. "These are special pigeons found mainly in Syria and Lebanon. But I bring my pigeons from Syria only." And pigeons are not the only exotic birds to have enjoyed a price rise. Sameer Hasi, an exotic bird seller in Dubai, also said he had seen a 10 per cent rise in the prices of his birds since the start of the year.

"A few months ago I was selling a pair of blue parrots for Dh50,000, but now I sell them for Dh55,000," he said. Dealers said prices began to creep up in the region when the world was gripped by the fear of avian flu and transporting birds across international borders was banned. The UAE lifted its last ban on bird imports in April 2008, while the Ministry of Environment and Water declared the country completely free of avian flu in February 2008.

But Mr Mansoor said that some import restrictions have persisted in many countries and continue to prevent sellers from easily importing large amounts of birds into the UAE. "Before it was bird flu, but now bird flu is over," Mr Mansoor said, adding "as long as there are not enough birds, prices will continue to go up".


Director: Lee Isaac Chung

Starring: Glenn Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos

Rating: 2.5/5

The drill

Recharge as needed, says Mat Dryden: “We try to make it a rule that every two to three months, even if it’s for four days, we get away, get some time together, recharge, refresh.” The couple take an hour a day to check into their businesses and that’s it.

Stick to the schedule, says Mike Addo: “We have an entire wall known as ‘The Lab,’ covered with colour-coded Post-it notes dedicated to our joint weekly planner, content board, marketing strategy, trends, ideas and upcoming meetings.”

Be a team, suggests Addo: “When training together, you have to trust in each other’s abilities. Otherwise working out together very quickly becomes one person training the other.”

Pull your weight, says Thuymi Do: “To do what we do, there definitely can be no lazy member of the team.” 

Try out the test yourself

Q1 Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2 per cent per year. After five years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow?
a) More than $102
b) Exactly $102
c) Less than $102
d) Do not know
e) Refuse to answer

Q2 Imagine that the interest rate on your savings account was 1 per cent per year and inflation was 2 per cent per year. After one year, how much would you be able to buy with the money in this account?
a) More than today
b) Exactly the same as today
c) Less than today
d) Do not know
e) Refuse to answer

Q4 Do you think that the following statement is true or false? “Buying a single company stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund.”
a) True
b) False
d) Do not know
e) Refuse to answer

The “Big Three” financial literacy questions were created by Professors Annamaria Lusardi of the George Washington School of Business and Olivia Mitchell, of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. 

Answers: Q1 More than $102 (compound interest). Q2 Less than today (inflation). Q3 False (diversification).

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat