I'm not a big fan of petitions but this is a rare case where I think we need as many signatures as possible. Even I signed this one. The Minnesota Vikings have been made aware of how lethal their glass design will be to migrating birds by Minnesota Audubon. They've chosen to ignore that and it's a big problem. This isn't a bird watcher vs football thing. This is a common sense, "let's be reasonable" sort of thing. Please sign it. Please share this blog entry. Please spread the word to your friends. Please Contact Governor Mark Dayton via phone 651-201-3400 or email to tell him to make the Viking's Stadium incorporate bird safe glass. Audubon is curious about what response you get, feel free to let them know.
Dear Minnesota Vikings,
I'm not an activist. I'm not someone who hates football. The League is one of my all time favorite tv shows. Granted I'm not someone who is as gung-ho as other football fans, but I get the importance of a hometown team and can have almost as much fun at a football game or Super Bowl party as I can at a bird festival. You guys are spending a crap ton of money to build a lovely stadium less than a mile from the Mississippi River. As a fan of giant modern marvels, I really dig that you brought in that crazy huge crane to build the new stadium--right on! But there's a problem: the finished stadium will have 200,000 square feet of glass that birds have trouble seeing when they're migrating. You know about this and you are even aware that you could use glass that poses a much lower risk of killing thousands of birds. The Mississippi River and that is a MAJOR migratory flyway. How major? Check this out:
The above image is radar taken at night during spring migration. Notice that large blue dot on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border right about where the Twin Cities are located? Here's one that was taken this past May:
That's millions of songbirds migrating over at night. Millions. That's right, millions of birds fly over the Twin Cities at night every spring and fall. MILLIONS.
Don't believe me? Let's take a look at the 9/11 Memorial which periodically traps migrating birds in New York (another major flyway similar to the Mississippi River flyway).
The 9/11 Tribute In Light happens during heavy fall migration. The lights sometimes attract migrants and they get "trapped" circling it non-stop. Lights can affect bird ability to navigate while migrating at night. The lights are turned off briefly when this happens, otherwise the birds would fly until they are exhausted and die. There would be no way for them to refuel for their journey south, the area doesn't have the food they need.
But this gives us an idea of the sheer number of birds that pass over our heads at night when we live in a major migratory corridor--this is what flies over Minneapolis and St Paul during spring and fall migration. Millions of birds we cannot see, passing over our heads.
Now, Vikings, when you announced your stadium plans, people who know birds all thought, "Holy crap, that's gonna kill a lot of birds being that close to the river." I was ready to send out press releases to local news but I'd heard that Audubon Minnesota was going to work with you to figure out some glass options. And turns out this week you ignored them. As someone who has tax dollars going to fund this thing, that is unacceptable. Now I could show you all sorts of photos of piles of dead birds that hit other buildings to give an example of what your stadium will do but I'd rather you see the common birds we see in our Minnesota backyards that will be affected by the wrong choice of glass.
Click on the above photo to see other species that will be affected by the stadium glass.
There's no need to pit this as "bird watchers hate football." What's really going on is that many birders do enjoy football, they'd rather it not be at the expense of birds. It's not too late to fix this.
Now, according to Audubon, the cost to switch to better glass for birds is about $1 million -- which amounts to a less-than-one-tenth of one percent of the estimated billion dollar project. You can't tell me that you can't afford this. Couldn't you set up a fund for when players will eventually do something naughty that their fines go to the safer glass to birds fund? Can you not add on a tax to the beer at the stadium? Is there some way to build this in to the Super Bowl when it's here in 2018? C'mon, let's be reasonable.
Please don't make me become a Packers fan.