The eagle has landed...on M's starter James Paxton?

A flyover of four Air Force jets comes over Target Field after the national anthem as the Seattle Mariners and the Minnesota Twins line up prior to the Twins home-opener baseball game Thursday, April 5, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

MINNEAPOLIS -- Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton might be Canadian, but he was about as American as you could get during the National Anthem before their game against the Minnesota Twins Thursday.

A huge bald eagle that was part of the pre-game festivities went a bit off target and briefly landed on the tall pitcher's shoulder -- who ironically goes by the nickname "Big Maple."

Paxton was standing alone in left field at Target Field, taking a break from his warmup throws for the pregame ceremony Thursday. That's when a bald eagle brought in for a flight over the playing field prior to the national anthem apparently became confused.

Rather than soaring to the mound to reach his summoning handlers, the bird's path went toward Paxton, causing him to jerk his body backward to avoid being grazed. Then the eagle, named Challenger, landed in the grass before circling back to find a perch on Paxton's right shoulder. One of the trainers hustled out to lure the bird safely away.

As you might expect, social media had some fun:

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