Bird Experts Express Concerns about Vikings Stadium Design

Updated: 05/23/2013 7:34 AM By: Tim Sherno

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority has released a draft of its Environmental Impact Statement for the demolition of the Metrodome and construction of the new Vikings stadium.

The draft addresses environmental concerns, including air quality, noise and vibrations and bird collisions.

Matthew Anderson is the Executive Director of Audubon Minnesota, and he says he had two thoughts when the first time he saw an image of the new stadium. "It's a pretty stunning design, and there's a lot of glass," he said.

The worry is the see-through design of the structure. With glass on both sides, Anderson is concerned how it will be perceived by birds, "There's a chance a bird's going to see that and think about passing right through it."

Melissa Doperalski, Regional Environmental Associate Ecologist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, says there are roughly 250 different species of birds that live in or travel through Minnesota, and roughly 100 of them could be found in downtown Minneapolis. 

Doperalski says there are design techniques that help mitigate bird injuries caused by glass, "You can angle glass differently. You can add an etching to it. You want to break up the transparency on any sport of glass structure so that a bird doesn't get a fly through effect."

Anderson with Audubon Minnesota says he's eager to work with the MSFA and the Vikings to reduce bird collisions and deaths, "We want to do the best we can without the unrealistic expectation of zero."