TV titan Oprah Winfrey's private jet was forced to return to Santa Barbara airport in California on Monday (26DEC05) after colliding with a bird.

After spending Christmas (25DEC05) in her 42-acre seaside estate in nearby Montecito, the media billionaire and long-term love Stedman Graham boarded her Gulfstream jet to fly to the east coast.

Shortly after taking off, a bird struck the windscreen, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing at 12.30pm local time.

Santa Barbara Fire Department spokesman JOHN AHLMAN says, "This is not a totally unusual thing. We see these things pretty frequently."