Vikings stadium could feature three-year, $300,000 study on bird deaths

By Jesse Reed
Aug 15, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Former NHL player Phil Housley (R) blows the Minnesota Vikings Gjallarhorn prior to the preseason NFL football game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings won 26-16. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The shiny new home of the Minnesota Vikings is set to potentially be the focus of a three-year, $300,000 study on migratory bird fatalities.

The Star Tribune reports the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) is proposing this study at the urging of bird advocates who are concerned about birds flying into the glass that covers a large portion of U.S. Bank Stadium, set to open next week.

“The bird advocates are concerned that the building’s 200,000 square feet of glass will confuse birds, causing them to collide and die. Of particular concern is the stadium’s proximity to the Mississippi River migratory flyway.”

The MSFA and Vikings will split the cost of the study, which will “design a collaborative, scientific program to design, research, observe, monitor, analyze, and assess the potential impact of the stadium on bird mortality due to bird collisions.”

Jerry Bahls, president of the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis, says he’s concerned that upwards of 1,000 birds will die annually because of the glass windows surrounding the stadium.

Some might wonder if isn’t it a bit late to take action on this. After all, it’s not like the Vikings are going to take their new stadium down if the study does show birds find the new digs to be a fatal attraction. While it is too late to go backwards, the study hopes to come to some proactive conclusions, should it find birds are indeed dying because of collisions into the facility.