HELENA, Mont. — Everyone has heard of homing pigeons, but Montana fifth-grader Tara Atkins apparently has a "schooling pigeon."
The pet bird named Foresta had disappeared Tuesday from Tara's home in the Elkhorn Mountains near Montana City, but it was back in her arms Wednesday after it showed up at her school about 5 air miles away in Helena.
"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."
The bird caused a ruckus when it arrived at Central-Linc Elementary, first sitting on teacher Rob Freistadt's head, the Independent Record reported.
Staff members and a police officer tried for an hour to corral the bird that Principal Vanessa Nasset said was just "sky-bombing everyone."
Nasset asked Tara for help catching the bird after a parent remembered she had a pet pigeon.
Tara recognized Foresta by her distinct coloration and the blue band around her leg.
"I was pretty happy," Tara said.
But as Tara tried to catch her pigeon, the school bell rang and students poured outside, delaying the capture again.
Fellow fifth-grader Owen Cleary finally caught the bird by throwing a blanket over it while it sat on his head.
Holmes said she doesn't know how the bird ended up at her daughter's school.
"It is the most amazing thing," she said.