MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority is considering whether to retrofit glass after a study showed 111 birds die annually flying into U.S. Bank Stadium.
“The numbers were lower than expected,” MSFA chair Mike Veckich said after the Audubon Minnesota formally presented the study to the sports authority.
Still, Vekich said the authority is already acting on two of the study’s recommendations: turning off stadium lights at night and reducing surrounding vegetation.
The study’s other recommendation is more challenging. Adding frosted film to the existing glass could cost millions of dollars and affect the stadiums aesthetics.
Vekich promised a decision on the glass by next year.
Bird advocates held pictures of dead songbirds during the meeting.
“Let’s not diminish our natural resources unless it is absolutely necessary and is a crystal-clear glass football stadium absolutely necessary?” Lisa Venable asked the board.
The MSFA spent $300,000 on the study. It determined the Vikings stadium ranked third among the deadliest buildings for birds in Minneapolis. The worst offenders were not named in the study findings.
In her remarks to the authority board, Wendy Haan called the stadium “a deathtrap for migrating birds.”
But some fans attending the state high school football playoffs Friday at U.S. Bank Stadium had another take.
“I think it's a beautiful stadium and they should leave it the way it is,” Randy Sawatzky said.
Vance Kaupang agreed. “Birds should know better than to fly into a window, this ain’t a big deal.”
Robert Schultz, executive director of Minnesota Audubon, struck a conciliatory tone.
“We’re very thankful that we’re not having the issue some of us assumed it might be, yet as we look at the number of birds that are hitting the building there’s room for improvement there,” Schultz said.