US Bank Stadium is a 'death trap' for birds, advocacy group says | KSTP.com

US Bank Stadium is a 'death trap' for birds, advocacy group says

US Bank Stadium is a 'death trap' for birds, advocacy group says Photo: KSTP/File

Updated: November 15, 2019 03:47 PM

A new study found hundreds of birds have died over the past few years after flying into the glass at US Bank Stadium. Now the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority is trying to decide how to handle the issue.

Local bird advocacy groups spoke out during the public comment portion of a meeting Friday morning, saying the stadium's big windows are essentially a "death trap" for birds and they would like to see immediate changes.

"Thousands more birds will be killed by the glass," said Constance Pepin, advocacy chair for the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis. "And many of those birds will have been prevented from reproducing, which will further contribute to the huge decline of bird populations that has already been documented."

US Bank Stadium has 200,000 square feet of glass. Audubon Minnesota says it reflects the sky and nearby trees, confusing birds and causing them to crash.

A new study released last week found about 111 birds die every year at US Bank Stadium, the third highest fatality rate of the 21 downtown buildings in the report.

Environmental groups hope the stadium will take steps to cut down on the deaths, including turning the lights out at night and adding bird-safe treatments to the windows, such as films and markers. Early estimates show those treatments could cost anywhere from $100,000 to $2 million.

Rob Schultz, executive director of Audubon Minnesota, told the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority board that taking action should be a priority because Minneapolis is right along a major migration route.

"About 60% of America's bird population travels through this Mississippi Flyway," Schultz said, "so this is a critical area for birds as they go from their winter grounds to their summer grounds and back and forth. That's why there's a lot of focus on this."

The board says it plans to take some time to look into the new report and the options for mitigating the problem before making any decisions. They expect it will be at least a few months before they take any further action.

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Alexandra Jokich

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