Glassy Vikings stadium design ruffles bird lovers - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Glassy Vikings stadium design ruffles bird lovers

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  • 38 photos of new Vikings stadium design

    38 photos of new Vikings stadium design

    Tuesday, May 14 2013 9:07 AM EDT2013-05-14 13:07:52 GMT
    On Monday night, fans and team leaders gathered at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis to unveil the chosen design for the new stadium that will become the new home of the Minnesota Vikings.
    On Monday night, fans and team leaders gathered at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis to unveil the chosen design for the new stadium that will become the new home of the Minnesota Vikings.
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

In Minnesota, hundreds of birds die after hitting windows each year -- and the glassy design of the new Vikings stadium has many bird lovers concerned that more migrating birds may be killed.

From skyways to buildings, windows come in all shapes and sizes -- but they are often the biggest threat to a bird's airspace.

Now that the designs have been revealed, bird enthusiasts are taking their concerns directly to stadium leaders in the hope that changes can be made before construction starts.

The problem with the big windows and planned 90-foot pivoting glass doors is that they can be mirror-like and reflective, meaning that a bird can't tell if it's seeing its habitat or the sky as it flies.

"There's no reason to think there's a solid object in the way," Joanna Eckles said.

With glass on both ends on the building, bird lovers worry that their feathered friends may mistakenly believe they can fly all the way through.

"Any time you have glass and birds, birds are going to hit the glass," Eckles said.

Eckles is affiliated with Audubon Minnesota, an agency that helps protect birds. That group is now hoping designers will consider using bird-friendly materials since the area around the new stadium is well-known for bird migration.

"You have endless solutions when you are in the design phase, but if you built it and have a problem, then it's much more difficult to fix," explained Tom Fisher, a design professor at the University of Minnesota who helped consult on the stadium.

Fisher explained that a special pattern known as a "frit" is already being used at the Hennepin County Library and can be added to glass to offer a safe solution.

"Birds begin to read that glass as a solid, like a wall, and they avoid running into it," he said.

Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the Minnesota Stadium Authority, said it's too soon to say whether or not the design will be changed or if the frit plan will fit into the budget.

"I don't know what it means to the design," she said. "I don't know what it means cost-wise, so we will just have to see."

Leaders with Audubon Minnesota plan to meet with stadium officials at the end of the month.

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