One of the more distinguishing features of the new Vikings stadium, set to open in 2016, is the huge glass exterior. But birds, who are stupid, would not call that a selling point. They would call it a dying point.
Audubon Minnesota, the state office of the world's largest bird-focused conservation group, put out a press release today accusing the Vikings stadium of endangering local and migratory birdkind by refusing calls to make its glass roof and walls more visible to the dumb avians.
"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. 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. We're asking them to change their minds and do the right thing."
Birds, showing why we invented the word "birdbrain," don't have the visual or spatial acuity to tell the difference between "outside" and "a reflection of outside." So they get confused and smack into windows; an Audubon Minnesota survey found more than 125 species that have fatally collided with buildings in the Twin Cities since 2007.
Throughout the planning and construction of the Vikings stadium—which is really coming along quickly—Audubon Minnesota and other activist and governmental groups have called on the Vikings to adjust the lighting and transparency of the structure to make it clear to those little winged morons that it's a stadium and not the sky.
As early as December 2012, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources had urged the stadium to incorporate bird-safe design into the new building. A few months later, a special committee of the Minneapolis City Council specifically recommended that the stadium adopt Audubon's suggestions to create a bird-safe structure through glazing techniques and special site lighting.
Audubon staff communicated regularly with stadium developers until April 2014, when they were told that another meeting would be scheduled before a July 15 decision on the type of glass to be used. That meeting was canceled, and Audubon staff were told on July 17 that there would be no change in the stadium glass choice to protect birds.
The Vikings never promised anything to anybody, so they can passively murder birds to their hearts' content. And, really, those birds are probably too feebleminded to live. But the thorniness could be in the Minnesota Department of Commerce guidelines, which requite all bond-financed structures—and the state is financing the stadium with a $468 million bond sale—to take steps to protect the feathered imbeciles from themselves.