get it home page promo

Pigeon causes chaos at Central-Linc

Pet traveled 15 miles to unknown place to find owner
2014-05-22T06:00:00Z 2014-05-23T14:21:33Z Pigeon causes chaos at Central-LincBy DEREK BROUWER Independent Record Helena Independent Record

Central-Linc Elementary School Principal Vanessa Nasset and teacher Rob Freistadt were walking outside their school Wednesday when the two were attacked by a pigeon.

“I hear this bird flapping its wings behind us. I start screaming and it lands on Rob’s head,” the principal said.

When the pigeon wouldn’t budge, Nasset knew something strange was happening. But they had no idea the bird was the missing pet of one of the elementary school’s students, or that it had apparently flown 15 miles to get there, despite having never visited Helena before.

The pigeon, named Foresta, had disappeared the previous day from fifth-grader Tara Atkins’ home in the Elkhorns outside Montana City, where the bird often roams in the yard.

“This pigeon has never been to town before,” Atkins’ mother Krys Holmes said. “We got her as a baby, and she just hangs out at home.”

Foresta and her family were reunited when Atkins was asked by her principal if she wouldn’t mind helping the adults catch a pigeon, which they had been struggling for more than an hour to contain.

“My big concern was, let’s get this bird contained so we don’t have it going after kids. It was just sky-bombing everyone,” Nasset said.

A police officer was called, and staff tried wooing the bird into laundry baskets, but to no avail.

Atkins was called to the scene because a parent recalled that the girl owned a pigeon. The adults figured she might have some tricks to catch the bird.

Atkins recognized Foresta by the bird’s distinct coloration and a blue band tied around its leg.

“I was pretty happy,” Atkins said.

But as Atkins tried to catch her pigeon, the school bell rang and students poured outside — yet another setback.

“It was quite a rodeo to get her to calm down enough that we could catch her,” said Holmes, who had been unaware of the circumstances when she arrived to pick up her daughter.

Fellow fifth-grader Owen Cleary finally caught the bird by throwing a blanket over it as the animal stood atop the boy’s head.

Foresta’s owners are still trying to determine how the bird turned up at school and on the teachers’ heads. To Holmes, the journey is inexplicable.

“It is the most amazing thing,” she said. “I just don’t know. What is the universe made of?”

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(3) Comments

  1. justme59601
    Report Abuse
    justme59601 - May 22, 2014 3:40 pm
    lots of kids do it, they just pay the out of district tuition.
  2. professional
    Report Abuse
    professional - May 22, 2014 9:49 am
    I guess it's her neighborhood school (yes this is a sarcastic response for the slower folks in the interwebs)
  3. JoeCitizen
    Report Abuse
    JoeCitizen - May 22, 2014 6:34 am
    Why is a child from Montana City attending a Helena school?

Civil Dialogue

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Name-calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome. Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum. Our comment policy explains the rules of the road for registered commenters. If you receive an error after submitting a comment, please contact us.

If your comment was not approved, perhaps:

    1. You called someone an idiot, a racist, a dope, a moron, etc. Please, no name-calling or profanity (or veiled profanity -- #$%^&*).

    2. You rambled, failed to stay on topic or exhibited troll-like behavior intended to hijack the discussion at hand.

    3. YOU SHOUTED YOUR COMMENT IN ALL CAPS. This is hard to read and annoys readers.

    4. You have issues with a business. Have a bad meal? Feel you were overcharged at the store? New car is a lemon? Contact the business directly with your customer service concerns.

    5. You believe the newspaper's coverage is unfair. It would be better to write the editor at This is a forum for community discussion, not for media criticism. We'd rather address your concerns directly.

    6. You included an e-mail address or phone number, pretended to be someone you aren't or offered a comment that makes no sense.

    7. You accused someone of a crime or assigned guilt or punishment to someone suspected of a crime.

    8. Your comment is in really poor taste.

    9. Don't write a novel. If your comment is longer than the article you're commenting on, you might want to cut it down a bit. Lengthy comments will likely be removed.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick


Follow the Independent Record

Great Helena Businesses