U.S. Bank Stadium officials weigh options to reduce bird deaths

Final Four at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis
Fans arrive at U.S. Bank Stadium before the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament on April 6, 2019, in Minneapolis.
Matt York | AP Photo file

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority says it could be seven to 10 months before it responds to recommendations to treat glass on U.S. Bank Stadium to mitigate bird deaths.

The authority on Friday reviewed a two-year, $300,000 bird collision study that determined about 100 birds a year die after flying into the Minneapolis stadium's glass walls. The study found that birds from 42 species, mostly songbirds, had fatal collisions with the stadium over two years.

The study recommends lighting and vegetation changes at the stadium to protect birds. The authority said it has been addressing those issues.

The big-ticket recommendation is for a film or coating that would reduce the reflectivity of the stadium's glass walls.

Create a More Connected Minnesota

MPR News is your trusted resource for the news you need. With your support, MPR News brings accessible, courageous journalism and authentic conversation to everyone - free of paywalls and barriers. Your gift makes a difference.

"Film will reduce, not eliminate, fatal bird strikes," said Rob Schultz, executive director of Audubon Minnesota. "It may reduce them by 80 to 85 percent."

The material cost alone could range from about $50,000 to $570,000, depending on how much of the stadium's exterior is involved. With labor, the effort could cost several million dollars.

"The big item will be window coverage, and it’ll take time for us to work through that," said authority chairperson Michael Vekich.

One bird advocate, Constance Pepin, called for prompt action on the glass. She said that thousands of birds will die over the life of the stadium if the glass is not made more visible to birds in flight.