The front of the U.S. Bank Stadium. Photo by Sarah McKenzie

Study will monitor bird collisions at U.S. Bank Stadium

Updated: July 19, 2016 - 1:22 pm

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) announced Friday that it will collaborate with Audubon Minnesota, the University of Minnesota and Oklahoma State University on a study monitoring bird-window collisions at the new U.S. Bank Stadium.

The study will start in the spring of 2017 and an analysis will be released in 2019.

MSFA Chair Michelle Kelm-Helgen said the goal is to determine if the stadium poses a threat to migrating birds.

“If we identify that there is a problem, we will work together to find a solution,” she said.

The MSFA and the Vikings have also pledged to be part of Audubon’s “Lights Out” program, which means unnecessary lights at the stadium will be turned off at night during spring and fall bird migration seasons to help reduce light pollution.

Joanna Eckles, bird-friendly communities manager for Audubon Minnesota, said window collisions are one of the leading causes of bird mortality.

“This study will help fill in gaps in our knowledge and continue to improve our ability to generate and promote solutions,” she said.

The Audubon Society led a petition drive in 2014 to push the Vikings and MSFA to incorporate bird-safe glass into the stadium design, but it was unsuccessful. At the time, the MSFA noted that the stadium design and budget were completed before there were changes in state guidelines to bird-safe glass and conversations with the Audubon Society got underway.

The glass was estimated to add $1.1 million to the $1.1 billion stadium’s budget.

The Minneapolis City Council also approved a resolution in August 2014 calling for a bird-safe Vikings stadium design, noting the city is contributing about $150 million in local sales tax revenue for the project.

The new U.S. Bank Stadium is hosting grand opening festivities for the public July 23 & 24.