A single bird is believed to be responsible for the strike that tore a large chunk out of the nose of United Airlines flight bound for Denver.
Flight 1475 en route from Dallas/Ft. Worth managed to land safely with no injuries to the 151 passengers on board.
"It didn't affect the engines. It didn't affect the landing gear from coming down at all," aviation expert Steve Cowell told 7NEWS. "Passengers probably wouldn't have felt anything, but the pilot certainly would have heard the smack of the bird on the nose."
Smithsonian Institution scientists will analyze the animal's remains to determine the species involved.
Some 9,622 bird strikes occurred in 2010 — up significantly from 1,793 in 1990, according to ABC News. Nearly three-quarters of all strikes happen less than 500 feet above ground.