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Chicago-Bound Flight Forced to Land After Hitting Bird

Chicago-bound American Airlines Flight 334 made an emergency landing this morning in Las Vegas after the plane was struck by a bird upon departure, Federal Aviation Administration officials said on Monday.

None of the 156 passengers and six crew members on the Boeing 737 were injured, American Airlines said. Maintenance is evaluating the plane.

Such incidents have become increasingly common.

Last month, a Delta flight headed to Hong Kong was forced to return to Seattle when a red-tailed hawk hit the engine. No one was injured.

In March of this year, an American Airlines jet bound for St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands was in the air for about 10 minutes when it hit a flock of geese. The plane made an emergency landing returning to John F. Kennedy Airport. Airline officials said none of the crew or passengers were injured. The vessel was taken out of service.

Some communities have taken to enlisting pups to patrol the flight paths and help scare off birds.

As part of a Wildlife Hazard Management Plan, the Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan added a seven year old border collie named Piper to their staff. Piper puts in a 40 hour work week scaring birds away from flight paths of incoming and outbound planes.

“He’s got the energy, the drive,” his owner Brian Edwards told NBC News. “He’ll go all day until I make him stop, so he’s perfectly suited for this type of work.”