I just wanted to go to BirdFair in the UK, enjoy a few days in London on a mini break with my husband, come home and write some articles in a mild jet lag haze, reset my body clock and instead...I had to deal with you because you decided to go all "arty" on us.
For those who don't know, here's why the shiny, clear glass is the problem with the new stadium design. Here's an easy, energy efficient alternative that will kill fewer birds.
The new Vikings' Stadium that is less than a mile from the Mississippi River aka the 35W of midwest bird migration and the Minnesota Sports Facility Association opted to not to go with energy efficient (and Minnesota made) fritted glass on the 200,000 square feet on the building. Even though the Minneapolis City Council approved a resolution urging the MSFA to use bird friendly glass. At first it was implied by the Vikings that this was a money issue and would cost just under a million dollars which was one tenth of one percent of the overall budget for the stadium.
And then the announcement came that the budget for the stadium was going to go past the billion dollar mark for things like extra freight elevators and escalators. OK...and the glass?
Vikings spokesman Jeff Anderson tweeted that now the glass isn't a money issue, it's an aesthetic issue. Are you kidding me?
My inbox blew up a little bit while I was away and Audubon Minnesota planned to drop off some signatures to Governor Mark Dayton and invited me along. I looked at my travel schedule and thought, "Yeah, I can do that." Then I sat in on a conference call yesterday and found out that I wasn't just attending, I was going to say a few words...hoo boy.
Rolf Thompson from the National Eagle Center made the two hour drive up from Wabasha to speak up Matt Anderson from Minnesota Audubon and many of his staffers were there to speak to the media and show some of the fritted glass options. Other bird lovers around the Twin Cities also showed up--those of us with flexible Tuesday mornings.
Audubon Minnesota brought along some of the beautiful and gut-wrenching photography of artist Miranda Brandon. She's done surveys for dead and injured birds around building and took photos of some of the dead birds to illustrate what happens when birds impact windows during migration.
Think about a ruby-throated hummingbird like the one in the above photo. If you see that bird in May in Minnesota, that bird has already crossed the Gulf of Mexico on its own two wings, twice at least. If it's older than one year, it's done it several times. How frustrating to find one dead from hitting a window in Minnesota in May. It has returned all that way from South America to breed in Minnesota (or a little further north) only to have its journey end abruptly against some glass in a death that could have been preventable. That's what the new Vikings Stadium will do with the glass they've chosen for "aesthetics." And not just to hummingbirds but robins, warblers, vireos, raptors, woodcocks--all sorts of species.
These signatures are not saying that football sucks and we shouldn't have a stadium. What the signatures are saying is that the type of aesthetic we want to see is a 64 yard touchdown run--not bright shiny glass that is lethal to birds, we just want a stadium where we can watch football without feeling guilty about the impact on birds. People are there to watch a game, not the glass.
So please, contact Governor Mark Dayton and let him know that this issue is important and that he needs to direct the people he appointed to the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority to do the right thing and switch to bird-safe glass which will be energy efficient and more cost effective in the long run.