An aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in the US after suspected bird strike to its left engine.

Airport spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin said flight 1456 was heading to Minneapolis when the pilot heard a sound and made a swift landing.

It later appeared that a bird had collided with the left engine forcing Northwest Airlines to rebook all of its passengers on other flights.

A report from the Federal Aviation Administration in April revealed that since 1990 there have been six significant occurrences of birds striking planes.

Hamlin said the airport had started a wildlife management programme that uses pyrotechnics to frighten birds away.

She added that with the assistance of the US department of agriculture birds can be safely captured and relocated away from the airport.