Why Give a Hoot?

Wise Old Owl looks at various arguments pro and con about adding bird-friendly glass to the Vikings Stadium design, in Minneapolis, MN.

* Item one: A Star Tribune editorial (Oct 18) has asked Wise Old to keep “bird deaths in perspective.” Being a bird in modern America isn’t work a hoot, so the argument goes. Bird deaths due to hitting a tall glass, Viking wall will be a drop in the bucket, simply not worth the expense of installing less-damaging glass.

* Item two: Wise Old decides to expand the human and avian perspective on this advice. The city of Minneapolis via the Park Board has been considering what to do with a piece of supposed parkland once called The Yard, and now evidently called The Common, adjacent to the rising stadium. When Wise Old closes her eyes, she easily imagines this parcel littered with dead birds, each 24 hours’ “harvest” from winged encounters with Vikings glass. This is possibly akin to a football quarterback being clobbered by a linebacker. But, of course, birds don’t wear helmets.

* Item three:  Wise Old tries expanding the perspective even further. Another recent article in the Star Tribune reports Minneapolis’ desire to recreate its downtown as more “tree friendly.” Wise Old scratches her neck feathers at this one. How does a desire to be more tree-friendly, attracting birds in the process, fit with a shoulder-shrug against more bird-friendly glass? Quite a conundrum for this Wise Old.

* Item four, last item: Star Tribune reporter Brandon Stahl has roused astonished outrage at the death of 4-year-old Eric Dean of Pope County, whose stepmother beat him repeatedly, yet county child protection did nothing to stop it. Minnesota, it turns out, has one of the country’s worse records on child protection. Gov. Mark Dayton has convened a panel to look into this.’

Not to be confusing, Wise Old asks, What’s the connection between a lack of child protection and bird deaths from nonfriendly glass in the Vikings stadium? Wise Old hoots at even having to ask the question: It’s a matter of compassion and–she gives two hoots here–preventing damage once the danger is identified.

With a final couple of hoots, Wise Old urges commercial giants in her adopted city to reconsider. Bird-friendly glass is, if nothing else, a great popular move. She closes her eyes and imagines the marketing potential: a gorgeous red cardinal preening atop the helmet of Adrian Peterson, if he’s ever allowed back on the field.

Better yet, for the Vikes, a proud blue jay hanging on while rookie Teddy Bridgewater runs the ball down the line. Plus a medley of warblers on their way south, fanning the balls toward wide receivers like Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson, who haven’t done so well lately fielding. Maybe bird-friendly acts can help.

(Originally published in the Opinion Exchange section of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Tuesday Oct 21, 2014.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *