The new stadium where the Minnesota Vikings will play may pose a huge threat to birds, according to the Audubon Society. The organization said the design of the building, which features a wall of massive glass windows that stretches high into the sky, could cause birds to fly right into the glass and die.
Migrating birds endangered
Nature World reports that over 125 different species of bird migrate through the Twin Cities. Since 2007, birds from most of those species have died when they crashed into buildings in the area. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that approximately 988 million birds die from collisions with buildings each year.
The new Minnesota Vikings stadium features 200,000 square feet of glass, and birds often have difficulty distinguishing a glass wall from just the average landscape. A spokesperson for Audubon said the team has spent millions of more dollars to make sure that the new stadium is “iconic” and now urges them to also “make sure it’s not a death trap.”
Designers not worried about birds
The organization met with the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and team representatives last summer after they showed off the new stadium’s design. At that time, they suggested that the team include glazing for the glass on the stadium, along with special lighting, so that birds won’t crash into it.
The organization said the team will be incorporating some of the lighting fixes they recommended but not any of their suggestions for the glass itself. Adding glazing to the glass would add more than $1 million to the cost of the project., and the MSFA said it doesn’t have enough money in the budget to include that.
However, an Audubon spokesperson added that lighting is only one part of the issue and that more should be done, particularly since the stadium faces a park. They requested that the new stadium meet either the nationally recognized LEED standard or the state requirement for bird safety, but the end design does not.
Why birds crash into glass
Discovery.com explained why this issue is such a big one. Birds tend to crash into windows during foggy or rainy weather, especially at nighttime. Windows at the top of tall buildings that are well-light pose an especially big hazard. The Audubon Society said birds don’t understand the concept of reflection and just keep flying until they hit the glass.
The organization also said that some birds crash into windows because they are trying to get away from predators. It recommends that homeowners avoid bird strikes by putting decals or screens on their windows to reduce the effect of reflection and also turn off lights that are close to windows at night.