Advocates warn Vikings stadium could be 'death trap' for birds

Advocates warn Vikings stadium could be 'death trap' for birds

Posted: Updated:
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

Construction of the new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings is going ahead at a good clip, but not everyone is thrilled about the materials being used -- particularly the clear glass set to make up much of the façade.

According to the National Audubon society, nearly 1 billion birds are killed each year when they crash into buildings -- especially those with glass windows. Given that the designs for the new stadium involve some of the largest glass swinging doors in the world and other glass features, they're concerned about how it could affect birds that migrate along the mighty Mississippi.

“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,” said Audubon Minnesota Executive Director Matthew Anderson. “Hundreds of millions of dollars of public money is going to build this stadium, and we know the people of Minnesota do not want their money killing birds."

Ever since the stadium plans were unveiled, the group has been talking with the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority to urge them to protect animal welfare by ensuring that the nearly 200,000 square feet of glass won't become a hazard for high-flying animals.

The MSFA says the stadium was specifically designed so that fans could see in and out with the downtown-facing wall, but Joanna Eckles, with Audubon Minnesota, says all that glass could reflect the sky and trick birds into thinking they can fly right through.

"The birds that we find that have hit windows are all native migratory song birds, for the most part -- all of the ones that fly through here on their way between breeding and wintering grounds," she said.

Last week, however, the MSFA rejected the group's request to use special "fritted" glass that could help prevent birds from fatally colliding with the windows. That glass features small dots that most human eyes will never notice, but Eckles says it works for birds. In fact, the Minneapolis Central Library was built with a custom pattern specifically to prevent bird strikes.

"Looking out through it, it's actually quite clear," she said. "You've looked through it yourself and probably haven't even noticed it. Up close, you see a tiny dot pattern, but from normal viewing distance, it would almost disappear."

Additionally, fritted glass windows were developed to keep out heat and be more energy efficient -- but the stadium authority says the so-called "bird-safe" glass would cost an additional $1.1 million.

"The Vikings recently approved spending millions and millions of additional dollars to make sure the stadium is ‘iconic’ – surely they also want to make sure it’s not a death trap," Anderson continued. "We’re asking them to change their minds and do the right thing.”

State guidelines require publicly-funded building projects to protect birds from window collisions, but MFSA argues that the design and budget were completed before those changes to the guidelines were made. Eckles, however, thinks it's a missed opportunity.

"We think we can really lead on this really interesting and innovated aspect of green building design," sh said.

Eckles also contends that the added cost of the special glass would be offset by the energy savings over the life of the building, but developers aren't interested in paying the up-front cost.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Urban Outfitters blasted over Kent State sweatshirt with 'blood splatters'

    Urban Outfitters blasted over Kent State sweatshirt with 'blood splatters'

    Monday, September 15 2014 12:28 PM EDT2014-09-15 16:28:48 GMT
    Clothing retailer Urban Outfitters is receiving harsh criticism for selling a sweatshirt with a splatter pattern resembling blood over the logo of a university where a famous school shooting took place.
    Clothing retailer Urban Outfitters is receiving harsh criticism for selling a sweatshirt with a splatter pattern resembling blood over the logo of a university where a famous school shooting took place.
  • St. Louis Park marathoner dies after finishing last mile in Boston

    St. Louis Park marathoner dies after finishing last mile in Boston

    Sunday, September 14 2014 11:19 PM EDT2014-09-15 03:19:22 GMT
    Elinor Scott didn't let her cancer diagnosis keep her away from the Boston Marathon, but the bombs at the finish line stopped her at the 25th mile. In April, she went back to cross the finish line. On Friday, she passed on.
    Elinor Scott didn't let her cancer diagnosis keep her away from the Boston Marathon, but the bombs at the finish line stopped her at the 25th mile. In April, she went back to cross the finish line. On Friday, she passed on.
  • Adrian Peterson: 'I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser'

    Adrian Peterson: 'I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser'

    Monday, September 15 2014 4:48 PM EDT2014-09-15 20:48:37 GMT
    Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson released a long statement Monday, punctuated by the following message: "I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser."
    Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson released a long statement Monday, punctuated by the following message: "I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser."
Widgets Magazine
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices