By RICK SOLEM
The Minnesota Vikings new billion-dollar stadium is going to be a death trap for birds.
The stadium is set up along a major bird migratory route off the Mississippi River corridor and the 200,000 square feet of glass featured will be deadly to birds.
In a petition the Audubon Society is circulating, it states, "For one-tenth of a percent of the cost of the stadium, the Vikings could use bird-safe glass."
That cost sounds minimal, but one tenth of a billion, for you math experts, is a million.
The petition should perhaps read, “For less than one-third of Christian Ponders’ salary, the Vikings could install bird-safe glass.”
Ponder stands to make $3.23 million this season as part of his over-$10-million contract.
If you sign the petition (here), feel free to change the letter to that, to make a more compelling argument against the Vikings bird-unfriendly glass.
In June, the Vikings agreed to kick in $1.3 million to buy six more escalators, over 1,000 TVs for new multi-purpose building. Two months before that, they agreed to put in $1.2 million for a bigger video board on the west end and other upgrades.
The team's share of the $977.5 million project at that point was $479.5 million, which will be fueled by seat license sales, according to USA Today.
In all seriousness, however, it is quite a sad state when the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) and the Vikings recently told Audubon it would not be using glazing techniques that would deter the birds from flying into the glass.
Audubon met with the MSFA and Vikings in April about the glass. Another meeting, planned for last week, was canceled and society leaders say they were told there would be no change in the glass to protect birds, according to a press release.
“The huge expanses of glass, especially facing a new park, are a real cause for concern,” Joanna Eckles with Audubon told the Star Tribune. “Our request was that they meet either the state requirement or the nationally recognized LEED standard for bird safety. In the end, they did neither.”
The MSFA did say a year ago they would turn the lights off at night as to not confuse the birds. Gee thanks. It’s simply not enough for a taxpayer funded stadium to the tune of around $500 million.
“We know the people of Minnesota do not want their money killing birds,” Audubon executive director Matthew Anderson said in a press release. “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.”
Nationally, an estimated 988 million birds die annually by inadvertently flying into buildings.
For a third of Ponder's salary, the lives of thousands of birds could be saved. Ponder that for a second. Or, how interesting the setting around the stadium, set to open in 2016, will be with dead birds every where.
If the 2018 Super Bowl, which will be played in Minnesota, is between the Ravens and Cardinals, it could be devastating.