New Vikings stadium ruffles feathers

Construction of the new Vikings football stadium has raised concerns about bird safety. The site is a few blocks from the Mississippi River and could potentially put some of Minnesota’s 250 different bird species at risk. Bird advocates say that current construction plans for the high-tech facility are a certain death trap for birds. An Aug. 2, 2014 article in Mother Jones outlines how the shiny glass building will be transparent to birds creating the potential to slam into walls at high speeds. The Audubon Minnesota Project BirdSafe website has a 40-page guideline to promote bird-safe strategies for new and existing buildings in Minnesota.

Audubon Minnesota

Audubon Minnesota has guide for bird-safe buildings

Audubon Minnesota executive director Matthew Anderson told the Wall Street Journal that “switching to fritted glass, which uses quarter-inch ceramic dots that reduce reflections and bird strikes, would increase the cost of the nearly $1 billion stadium by about $1.1 million.” Earlier this month, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a resolution urging stadium planners to use bird safe glass. The Star Tribune reported that the city council measure is symbolic but not binding.

“I just want to be clear with the general public,” said Councilmember Cam Gordon in an Aug. 1, 2014 MinnPost article. “We don’t have any authority and this resolution isn’t able to order the Sports Facilities Authority to do anything with the stadium but hopefully our voice can be joined with other voices.”

Annual bird kill estimates in U.S.

Annual bird kill estimates in U.S.

ABC files suit

In July the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) for issuing 30-year permits to wind power facilities when previously permits were issued for 5-year increments. ABC contends that lack of proper wind power planning will pose a long-term threat to eagles, cranes, sage grouse, prairie chickens, brown pelicans, northern gannets, sea ducks, loons, terns and songbirds. The FWS published its Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance “to help make wind energy facilities compatible with eagle conservation and the laws and regulations that protect eagles” but ABC says mandatory standards are needed especially in important bird areas.

On a lighter note

Check out Molly Hoffman’s Field Notes website. It contains a recorded archive of simulated birding adventures in the woods. You can also listen to her radio show that airs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning on WTIP as part of the North Shore weekly morning program.

CA Powers