(CNN) -- A Delta Air Lines flight made an emergency landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Thursday afternoon after encountering an engine problem -- possibly because of a bird strike -- shortly after takeoff, a Delta spokesman said.
Delta Flight 1063's pilots told air traffic controllers of an engine-related program shortly after the Los Angeles-bound plane took off from JFK around 3 p.m., FAA spokesman Jim Peters said.
"As a measure of caution, the pilot chose to turn around" and landed the Boeing 757 at JFK, Delta spokesman Anthony Black said. All 172 passengers and seven crew members were OK, he said.
One of the engines might have struck a bird, leading to the engine problem, Black said. Delta needs to examine the engine before a bird strike could be confirmed, he said.
Ali Velshi, CNN's chief business correspondent, was on the plane. He said he heard "a horrible grinding noise" after the plane took off.
The aircraft started shaking, and smoke could be seen in the cockpit area, Velshi said.
Passengers were waiting Thursday afternoon for alternative travel arrangements, Black said.
Bird strikes are relatively common and do not always damage jet engines, although large birds or flocks of birds can seriously harm planes and engines.
Most famously, in 2009, a flock of geese damaged both engines on US Airways flight 1549, forcing the crew to land the plane in New York's Hudson River. All 155 people on the plane survived.