Bird deaths: On this, we all live in glass houses

  • Article by: R.C. BAUMBACH
  • Updated: August 22, 2014 - 6:49 PM

The Vikings stadium will be just part of the problem, and just one building, at that.

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A rendering of the stadium, which is under construction.

Even if Zygi Wilf is the face of unbridled corporate greed, as some people have suggested, he is most likely amenable to building-management practices that protect birds from collision hazards.

This country recognizes the problem of “incidental, accidental or unintended take” of birds. But Minnesotans understand that sports is an industry that can strengthen local economies (that is, the stadium has an upside).

These observations on birds and glass and sports are bolstered by statistics from the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

A minimum of 10 billion birds breed in North America, and fall population may be on the order of 20 billion — Hitchcock was onto something. Some 3 billion die annually from various causes as follows:

Loss or destruction of habitat, 33.3 percent; collisions with stationary objects, 31.7 percent; domestic and feral cats, 16.7 percent; power lines, 5.8 percent; pesticides and pollution, 2.4 percent; vehicle collisions, 2 percent; communication towers, 1.7 percent; licensed hunting, 1.3 percent; lead ingestion, 0.7 percent, and other, 4.4 percent.

So, before we castigate Mr. Wilf (and, by the way, will the stadium be the only glass building downtown?), let’s apply the same criticism to ourselves and ask: What can we do as individuals to reduce the carnage?

Consider these actions : Forestall urban sprawl; black out our buildings; put down pussycat; get off the grid; prevent pollution; don’t drive; flush the iPhone, and shuck off the shotgun.

The stadium is one building in one city in North America. I haven’t heard how many birds may fall against this edifice, but it won’t be statistically significant. Life is not pane-free.

R.C. Baumbach lives in Bloomington.

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