Eye to eye with an eagle

On Saturday I was biking on the eight-foot-wide path that goes down to the San Francisco Bay. As I approached a blind curve, I slowed down more than usual because I had a premonition of running into someone or something…

When I went around the turn, I was eye-to-eye with a golden eagle who was 6 feet off the ground, 10 feet in front of me with its wings fully extended, taking the entire width of the path.

A collision seemed inevitable. There was a tree above me, a fence on one side, and bushes on the other side. And, with its wings outstretched, the bird was in no position to quickly maneuver.
I immediately thought to protect my eyes, so I ducked, throwing my head on the handlebars. It happened so quickly that I don’t think I even touched the brakes.

We missed.

I guess I ducked just enough to let the bird glide right over me.

The entire encounter only took a split second.
It was a scene out of the Lord of the Rings.

I didn’t know what kind of bird it was so I googled it when I got home. It was definitely a golden eagle, whose wingspan can be up to 7.7 feet.
(Golden eagles prey on ground squirrels and there are thousands of ground squirrels that live next to that path.)

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