The flight, which had originally been bound for Los Angeles, returned safely to JFK, according to ABC News.
“On takeoff, the airplane had a likely bird strike,” said a Delta statement. “As a precaution, the captain elected to return to JFK. The flight landed without incident, and we’re working on reaccomodating the passengers.”
CNN‘s Ali Velshi, who was a passenger on the flight, tweeted that after the bird strike the plane’s cabin filled with smoke. Velshi also commended the captain and crew for “a quick turnaround & landing.”
Jet engines are regularly tested to make sure they can withstand a hit from birds, but sometimes, as was the case with the Miracle on the Hudson, a flock of large birds can be just too much for jet engines to handle.
The biggest bird an engine has to be designed to ingest and withstand is a four-pound bird, according to Paul Eschenfelder, a wildlife specialist at the Air Line Pilots Association.
He says that none of the engines flying are designed to survive an ingestion of an 8- to 15-pound bird or perhaps a 25-pound swan.
There have been 2,586 bird strikes at JFK Airport since January 1, 1990, according to the FAA, although not all of those were necessarily dangerous or during flight.