Minnesota Vikings fans have reason to be excited for their team's new stadium, a $975 million publicly financed project with enormous glass panels that offer a beautiful panorama of Minneapolis.
The stadium, expected to be finished in 2016, has already been tabbed to host the 2018 Super Bowl.
— YQR Stadium Build (@YQRstadium) April 14, 2014
But these very panels that may become the hallmark of the new stadium are also causing significant distress for the Audubon Society, the world's largest bird-focused conservation group. The group is worried that birds won't be able to distinguish between the glass and open air:
The Audubon Society says the new Vikings Stadium could kill thousands of birds who could collide into glass during migration
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) July 23, 2014
In a press release, Audubon Minnesota Executive Director Matthew Anderson pleaded with the franchise to consider using safer glass:
"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," Anderson said. "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."
The Audubon Society maintains that the new glass would be relatively cheap:
— The Audubon Society (@audubonsociety) July 23, 2014
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, last year the Vikings promised the Audubon Society they would turn off the lights at the new stadium at night to help birds avoid confusion. But the Audubon Society says that neither the Vikings nor the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority has responded to their recent request for new glass.
(H/T to Deadspin)