I had it scared out of me on Saturday's long run and haven't seen it since. Here's the story: 3k into my 40k out-and-back run along the Twisp River Trail, I was set upon by a freakishly large and aggressive bird of prey that obviously had a nest nearby and took issue with my proximity to it. For over a kilometre (one very long kilometre I might add), I was dive bombed by this evil feathered foe with a piercing cry and razor sharp talons.
I used a large stick (and my own hysterical shrieks) to fend off its attacks and it wasn't until I was a ways down the trail and out of the harm's way that I realized that the palm of my hand was a bloody mess due to my death grip on the stick which had several sharp barbs on it. Oh well, better a few sliced fingers than a full on scalping!
(As an aside, I have not been the biggest fan of birds since I was trodden upon as a toddler at a petting zoo by a goose with a mean streak who wanted the bread crust wedged between my chubby little fingers and would stop at nothing to get it. I also feel like I have been pooped on by birds more than the average person and while I know that it is supposed to signify good fortune in many cultures, it's hard to feel lucky when you're covered in shit!)
Needless to say, my out-and-back turned into an out-and-almost-back-and-then-backtrack-and-bushwhack to the road. There was no way I was facing that bird again!
After my run, I determined with the help of my friend Google and an old bird book that we have sitting around that my nemesis was likely the Northern Goshawk, which according to one source "will attack any perceived threat too near its nest, including people. It chases and catches prey in high-speed, aerial pursuits and will even crash through brush to chase its quarry on foot."
I guess I should be glad it didn't come down to a foot race between me and the angry accipiter. Although perhaps I would have fared better if it had.