Audubon: New Vikings stadium a bird ‘death trap’

The Audubon Society went on the offensive Wednesday in its fight with the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority over making the new glass encased football stadium safer for birds.

Warning the new stadium “could kill thousands of migratory birds unless the stadium’s builders take immediate action to incorporate bird safe measures,” Audubon urged its members to make their voices heard.

Birders have been worried for more than a year about the mammoth glass and steel stadium and the potential for many birds to die hitting it. They’ve  been pressing for project builders to use bird friendly designs.

But Audubon said that on July 17 staff were told that there would be no change in stadium glass choice, “potentially dooming thousands of birds.”

Updated 5:15 p.m.

Metropolitan Sports Facilities Authority chair Michele Kelm-Helgen responded the stadium’s designers had in mind “to create a building that was more connected and integrated with the community than the Metrodome had been. The ability to see in and out of the stadium was what led us to the design that included the ETFE roof and operable doors on the downtown facing wall.”

The MSFA’s statement released Wednesday afternoon continues:

“We have met several times with the Audubon Society and worked with Mortenson and HKS to look at all options for design and operational solutions to minimize bird collisions.

We have agreed to the Audubon Society’s operational approaches, including the “Lights Out” guidelines.

We have also taken into consideration the lighting design for the stadium, and where we are able, we will follow the Audubon’s suggestions.

We were able to adopt operational guidelines used by other downtown office and residential buildings, we were unable to change the design and do not have the budget to include the $1.1 million needed for bird safe glass.”


  • uberdog

    Why do the Vikings get to ignore the state building guidelines that are now required for all publicly funded buildings? This is the largest most costly public building in our history, and it ought to follow the rules like everyone else…A $600 Million bond from the state and they say the will not meet the bird-safe building standards! Further, the glass is energy efficient, and will ultimately pay for itself. Short sighted, special interest, special treatment. Our tax dollars shouldn’t be available for an organization that flaunts the regulations!

    • jack

      do you really think they are ignoring a guideline? come on if it was a requirement they would do it because they would have to. it wasn’t one at the time they began the design part of the project. I do think from a pr standpoint they should do the glass

  • Martin

    Hold up — in a project that is expected to cost >$1 billion, they can’t afford $1.1 million (one-tenth of one percent of the total cost) to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of birds over the course of the stadium’s lifetime? Come on. That is outrageous. Let’s do the right thing, for once.

  • Barbara

    As I am one who still doesn’t understand why this stadium was considered so necessary in the first place (and I distinctly remember voting – several times – not to allow our taxes to pay for it), this issue is only one of many I have with the whole project. Studies have shown repeatedly that expenditures for expensive sports stadia to keep a team from leaving town NEVER result in the projected job opportunities and increases in tax revenues that are promised. Boo on several levels. This is just the most recent.

  • J

    At least the Vikings are now guaranteed 3 wins when the Falcons, Seahawks or Ravens come to town……

    • Ralphy

      And the Cardinals

      • childhood Cardinals fan


        • jack

          you forgot the eagles

  • C

    Outrageous that the commission can’t come up with the 1.1 Million to keep the birds safe, but I bet there’s 1.1 million worth of excessive luxuries built in to the suites and other self congratulatory features. Come on people! We are MN, we can do better than that!

    • Cynical Observer

      I’ll bet they could raise the $1.1 million in less than 90 days from donations alone.

  • toonus

    “potentially dooming thousands of birds.”
    Notice they don’t say hundreds of thousands or even tens of thousands. “Thousands” as in what? 9000? 2000? Any hard numbers?
    Of course not, because its hyperbole. Audubon has been saying the same thing since 1972 when the IDS tower was built and guess what? It has not happened. Bird strikes do occur but they’re seldom and they’re usually caused by an already injured or sick bird.

  • jack

    is there any truth to the rumor that the company that makes “bird safe glass” is a big donor the audobon society?