CHICO, Calif. -

Chico firefighters were called to the Chico airport early Thursday after a plane hit a bird.

A pilot reported a bird strike about 6 miles northwest of Chico airport just after 7 a.m. 

Firefighters scrambled to the airport in case there was a problem with the plane's emergency landing.  About two minutes later the private Cessna 402 landed safely.  There was damage to the passenger side windshield and cockpit.

The pilot was not injured, and flew out using another aircraft a short time later.  The plane was headed from Sacramento to Chico when the bird strike happened.  The pilot reported he flew into a group of small birds, and made impact.  According to the FAA, aircraft is registered to Redding Aero Enterprises, Inc..  The tail number is N5849C.

This is not a new problem in the Sacramento Valley.  Pilots report an increase in birds in the airport area.  Some believe they are attracted to the recycling facility just south of the Chico Airport.

The FAA has issued a pilot alert, advising pilots of the number of birds in the area, and the possiblity of bird strikes.

Chico City Manager Brian Nakamura said he was advised of the airport bird problem last week.  Nakamura He told KRCR Newschannel 7 he and his staff will study the issue and search for possible soluntions.  Nakamura took over as city manager in September.

Sacramento International Airport has the most recorded bird strikes of any airport in the Western United States over the last 20 years.  The Central Valley is in the path of migratory birds that are on the move this time of year.