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Mid-air bird strike, suspicious package cause alarm on two flights

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There were frightening moments on two airliners hours apart Tuesday and at opposite ends of the country.

A terrifying mid-air bird strike punched a hole in the nose of a United 737 in Denver.

Then a suspicious item was found on a flight to Europe. That plane turned around, escorted by two F-15 fighter jets.

As we learned from the "Miracle on the Hudson" there's no doubt a bird strike can bring down a plane. Yesterday was a very close call.

Bird strikes cost airlines $600 million a year in damage, so there's plenty of interest in keeping the birds away from planes.

Wildlife biologist Michael Green is a fulltime bird-harasser.

He fires off pyrotechnic flares at Reagan National Airport as part of a nationwide effort to reduce bird strikes by keeping the animals away from the runway.

His team also drives remote control cars at the birds. They scatter pretty quickly.

Yesterday a potentially catastrophic bird strike punched a hole in the nose of a United 737 as it approached Denver International Airport. The plane landed safely.

In the first five months of 2012 there were 56 bird strikes reported at the three D.C.-area airports. Only two resulted in damage. That's down from 93 at the same point last year.

Also Tuesday, a flight attendent on United 956 bound for Geneva discovered a camera in an airsick bag left in a pocket of an empty seat.

Escorted by fighter jets, the plane landed in Boston. All 157 passengers were re-screened.

The camera and plane were given the all clear, but sources tell ABC News the suspected mastermind of the failed underwear bombing has been trying to develop a way to hide a bomb in a camera.

The camera apparently had vacation photos and has been traced back to a passenger who forgot the camera on an earlier flight.

In an effort to prevent bird strikes like the one in Denver that happened away from the airport, the USDA is studying lighting options that would make aircraft more visable to flying birds.

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