With “Bird-Friendly” Glass Out of Picture, Vikings Stadium Eyes Post-Install Solution

The ongoing construction of the Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium—which will utilize approximately 190,000 square feet of glass in a prime migratory area—has continued to draw the attention of bird activists and legislators alike.

A rendering of the new stadium in downtown Minneapolis. (Credit: Vikings.com)

A rendering of the new stadium in downtown Minneapolis. (Credit: Vikings.com)

However, recent calls for the builder to upgrade to “bird-safe” glass were for naught, as they came well after the design phase, budgeting and ordering of the glass, which is being provided by Viracon. So with the glass slated to go up soon, officials have looked to St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M Company to provide a film solution. The issue, however, is that 3M does not yet have such a product, though it is working on one.

“It’s so preliminary, there’s not a product yet,” says Fanna Haile-Selassie, global media specialist, who confirms 3M is working on a film that “the human eye cannot see once it’s put on,” yet somehow birds will.

While 3M works toward a solution, its Toronto-based distributor Convenience Group already has one. Convenience Group is the parent company of Feather Friendly, which manufactures bird-friendly film out of 3M’s film. Since birds fly into glass’s reflections, Feather Friendly film contains negligible white dots and is applied to the exterior of glass structures so that birds can know the glass is there.

Feather Friendly film has small dots evenly spaced throughout so that the birds will know the glass is there and avoid collision.

Feather Friendly film has small dots evenly spaced throughout so that the birds will know the glass is there and avoid collision.

“There are solutions,” says Darin Martin, marketing manager, explaining that problems such as these usually are discovered after the glass is already ordered, as in this case. “The Feather Family product has created success as a retrofit solution. That’s where it’s been used most widely.”

CollidEscape is another company that offers film “engineered to keep birds from hitting windows,” its website reads. Most of its film is a solid color on the exterior but transparent from the interior.

A spokesperson for the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), however, told USGNN.com™ that it has no plans to utilize films with patterns on it.

MSFA chair Michele Kelm-Helgen released a statement saying the organization will continue to work with stakeholders and initial conversations with such entities have been “positive and productive.”

Marc Deschamps, business development manager at Walker Glass, which offers an acid-etched  bird-friendly glass product, says the latest reports of the developments in the Vikings stadium-bird ordeal have been misleading at times, and that “they’re kind of making people believe that there isn’t a bird-safe solution yet, when in fact there is. There are already options out there.”

However, Deschamps says that while there seems to be some misunderstanding among the public regarding bird-friendly solutions—both with glass and film—the attention being brought to the bird-friendly issue is a positive, as it raises awareness for the future. He adds that as buildings go up in the next few years utilizing bird-friendly solutions, much of the confusion surrounding the matter should begin to dissipate.

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