Audubon society tags new Minnesota Vikings home as bird death trap

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Migratory birds

Tall buildings and skyscrapers pose a great threat to birds. The danger gets even bigger when the structure is built with huge glass windows that mirror the sky.
(Photo : U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

The society had initially met with the Minnesota Sport Facilities Authority (MSFA) and the Vikings team representatives in May of the previous year after learning about the upcoming stadium’s design features. Taking into account that the stadium poses a threat to the birds’ safety, the society had suggested that using customized glazing techniques and special lighting system could help prevent or at least minimize fatal collisions between birds and tall buildings. These suggestions had gained support from the Minneapolis City Council.

According to Audubon, there are around one billion birds that are killed every year by crashing themselves into buildings particularly those that have huge glass windows. The society became more concerned upon learning that the new stadium is designed with some of the world’s largest glass swinging doors and other bird-threatening glass features. These types of glass can truly affect the safety of migratory birds that trail along Mississippi.

Executive Director Matthew Anderson of Audubon Minnesota said, “We’re talking about a billion dollar stadium here, and the cost to save perhaps thousands of migratory birds – and make the Vikings a global leader in green stadium design – is about one-tenth of one percent of that.” He further adds that building the stadium would use up several millions of dollars from public money. “The people from Minnesota do not want their money killing birds.”

Audubon had been regularly talking with the MSFA since the day when stadium plans were revealed. The animal welfare society is trying to convince the MSFA to make the stadium’s glass material to be hazard-free for high-flying animals. Measuring at almost 200,000 sq ft, it’s understandable why the stadium’s glass can easily reflect the sky and make birds believe that they can fly right through it.

Records show that more than 125 species of migratory birds have been endangered by the tall buildings in the Twin Cities area where the unsuspecting birds would fatally collide. According to a statement given by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Smithsonian Institution, there’s an alarming number of fatal collisions that is recorded every year which usually involves up to 988 millions of birds. The biggest threat has been identified as the glass windows of a building. With the stadium’s mammoth glass size, it has become obvious why the Audobon society has shown deep concern.

Redesigning the upcoming stadium with a special “fritted” glass as suggested by the society would require an additional spending of $1.1 million. The added cost can be offset by the glass’ energy saving features. While the stadium developers are not keen on the idea, animal welfare supporters are not about to give up just yet.

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