Airport crews are connecting with the pilot to learn what happened and clean animal remains off the aircraft.

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A Delta plane en route to Hong Kong made an unplanned landing at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Thursday after a bird hit the aircraft.

The plane took off from the airport around 3 p.m. and returned about 4:20 p.m. after the pilot reported it hit at least one bird, airport spokesman Perry Cooper said. Wildlife and airline inspection crews are assessing the plane to determine the potential damage and impact of the strike, he said.

It was unclear how many birds the plane hit or why the pilot decided the emergency landing was necessary, Cooper said.