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Audubon: New Vikings stadium a bird ‘death trap’

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The Audubon Society went on the offensive Wednesday in its fight with the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority over making the new glass encased football stadium safer for birds.

Warning the new stadium "could kill thousands of migratory birds unless the stadium's builders take immediate action to incorporate bird safe measures," Audubon urged its members to make their voices heard.

Birders have been worried for more than a year about the mammoth glass and steel stadium and the potential for many birds to die hitting it. They've  been pressing for project builders to use bird friendly designs.

But Audubon said that on July 17 staff were told that there would be no change in stadium glass choice, "potentially dooming thousands of birds."

Updated 5:15 p.m.

Metropolitan Sports Facilities Authority chair Michele Kelm-Helgen responded the stadium's designers had in mind "to create a building that was more connected and integrated with the community than the Metrodome had been. The ability to see in and out of the stadium was what led us to the design that included the ETFE roof and operable doors on the downtown facing wall."

The MSFA's statement released Wednesday afternoon continues:

"We have met several times with the Audubon Society and worked with Mortenson and HKS to look at all options for design and operational solutions to minimize bird collisions.

We have agreed to the Audubon Society's operational approaches, including the "Lights Out" guidelines.

We have also taken into consideration the lighting design for the stadium, and where we are able, we will follow the Audubon's suggestions.

We were able to adopt operational guidelines used by other downtown office and residential buildings, we were unable to change the design and do not have the budget to include the $1.1 million needed for bird safe glass."