Eagle lands on Mariners pitcher before Twins home opener

The eagle has landed, just not where the Minnesota Twins or opposing pitcher James Paxton would have expected.

A bald eagle named Challenger who was brought into Target Field for pregame festivities before Thursday’s home opener for the Twins, went rogue and landed in the outfield rather than on the pitching mound as planned.

After hopping around the outfield grass for a a second or two, Challenger decided to alight on the shoulder of nearby Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton, who had paused his warmup routine in the outfield during the national anthem.

One of the bird’s handlers rushed out to secure Challenger while also checking on Paxton, who seemed relatively unfazed by the whole situation.

“I guess the eagle knew I was Canadian,” Paxton said after the Twins 4-2 victory, according to The Associated Press. “I don’t know. But it came for me.”

“Figured I’m not going to outrun an eagle,” Paxton added. “So might as well see what happens.”