Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

Helping to protect and raise awareness for the Kittiwakes along the River Tyne,
including the Newcastle and Gateshead Quayside.

A Tyne Kittiwake in flight

An Independent Voice

    • Celebrating the unique status of the Tyne Kittiwakes;
      ‘The Furthest Inland Colony in the World’
    • Supporting efforts to help safeguard the local breeding population of Kittiwakes and their environment.
    • Helping to showcase local educational projects that feature  local wildlife and their habitats.
    • Encourages bio-diversity along the River Tyne, helping to protect wildlife and their habitats.

The City of Newcastle upon Tyne and the adjacent town of Gateshead boasts a rich Wildlife Haven along the River Tyne. This is popular with birds all year round.  Watch out for Cormorants  swimming in the River Tyne or enjoying some shore leave on the rocks nearby drying out their wings.  Look for waders such as Redshanks and Curlews feeding on the tidal mud banks.  Accept the challenge of identifying which species of Gulls are present and try not to miss the migrants that have travelled from far away countries to share the bounties of the River Tyne.

Kittiwakes nesting 
on the Baltic Centre
for Contemporary Art, 

by Joe Thirlwell. 

Tyne Kittiwakes

The cast of Gulls includes; Black-headed Gulls, Common Gulls, Herring Gulls and the largest of all often some Great Black-backed Gulls.  In the spring/summer months two more species can be seen daily. These are the Lesser Black-backed Gull and the Kittiwake.  Kittiwakes are very much coastal Gulls, and to find one inland, is very rare.  They spend their lives out at sea.  Pairs regularly breed along our coast on steep cliff edges. The Farne Islands in North Northumberland hosts substantial colonies of nesting sea birds and is well worth a visit if you ever have the opportunity.
A young Tyne Kittiwake - River Tyne - Newcastle - Gateshead
Where the River Tyne passes the quaysides between Newcastle and Gateshead you can find ‘The Worlds Furthest Inland Breeding Colony of Kittiwakes in the World‘. Why they chose this urban location no body knows, but they have fallen in love with our big city and panoramic views.  A soft gentle Gull with a friendly personalty and wearing the black and white colours of the local Geordie football team ‘Newcastle United

The Return of the Tyne Kittiwakes

The ‘Tyne Kittiwakes’ returned and  hundreds successfully nested during 2019. They are still with us at this time and many pairs are still hard at work helping to raise the next generation of Kittiwakes. Listen out for their “kittee-wa-aaake, kittee-wa-aaake” calls.  Help us celebrate this amazing ‘annual event’ ; a valuable opportunity to watch this coastal Gull up close.  It is a privilege that we all need to make the most of. So please come share our good fortune and help welcome the legendary ‘Tyne Kittiwakes’

There has been lots of updates in the Kittiwake Diary this year. If you would like to contribute to the breeding season 2019 diary please email or you can send a message to @KittiwakesTyne on twitter. There will also be extensive information showcasing a wide range of other breeding sites on the  Colonies Page

Kittiwakes started to return towards the end of February 2019, from their long winter season far out at sea. As less than a dozen Kittiwakes started to explore the Quaysides of Newcastle and Gateshead, some anti-bird netting was removed, and replaced with alternative anti-bird detterants such as ‘Avi-shock’ and ‘Fire-gel’.

Over two dozen Kittiwakes were trapped in anti-bird netting during the 2018 breeding season.  As the new 2019 season progressed, more and more Kittiwakes started to return to some of their favourite nesting sites, along the River Tyne in the North East of England. Hundreds of Kittiwakes claimed prime locations, on the ‘Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art’ ,a man-made ‘Kittiwake Tower’ a ‘Newcastle Railway Bridge’ and the ‘Tyne Bridge’.  Despite the introduction of new anti-bird deterrents, some Kittiwakes were able to still build their nests on the ‘Guildhall’. The new ‘Fire-gel’ anti-bird deterrent which was added to ‘Phoenix House’ the actual day the Kittiwakes returned, failed altogether and over two dozen birds nested. A selection of buildings along ‘Newcastle Quayside’ were also chosen by the Kittiwakes to nest this season.

Read More

Kittiwakes Trapped in Anti-bird netting – Newcastle

“It’s been really sad to see over recent years the way the Kittiwakes have often been forgotten by certain companies, treated as an inconvenience rather than celebrating their unique presence”.
Nick Hartley, Newcastle Greens. @NCLGreenParty


Not everyone is keen to host, a colony of birds, and over the years, a few owners of nearby buildings have installed deterrents etc. to prevent any Gulls nesting.

Almost all of the ‘anti-bird netting’ has been removed that was involved in last years events where some Kittiwakes become trapped or were injured.  Read More

Have you found any wildlife which has become trapped in anti-bird netting on Newcastle or Gateshead Quayside? Should anyone find a trapped or injured Kittiwake this season, please contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty and advice helpline on 0300 1234 999. To help officers locate birds in trouble explaining where they can be viewed from is very useful.

A Greener Solution is needed

“For decades the Tyne Kittiwakes have been moved on and the Newcastle Quayside is becoming fortified against birds with more and more spikes, anti-bird netting and electric shock systems.  This money could be invested instead in a new development to support and provide a be-spoke nesting site for the local population of breeding Kittiwakes. Other options were considered before the Kittiwake Tower was created.
This would make more sense in the long term”


At this time of climate change, this important red-listed species, needs our help and we should be looking at ways that we can help safeguard the future of this important inland breeding colony of Kittiwakes. .

Read More

Wye Eye Wheel

A new development called the ‘Wye Eye Wheel’  will be built opposite the existing man made ‘Kittiwake Tower’.   This could cause further disturbance to the Tyne Kittiwake colony.  Read More

Durham Wildlife Trust – Kittiwake Cam

More than one-hundred pairs of Kittiwakes nest on the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art on Gateshead Quayside.

Visitors can enjoy ‘a birds eye view’ from a viewing platform, high up on the former ‘Flour Mill’.

There is also a ‘Kittiwake Cam’ which streams live coverage between March and August, whilst the Kittiwakes are nesting along the River Tyne.

Read More

Please help support us

Kittiwakes nesting on
the Tyne Bridge
by Mark Leitch


‘Kittiwakes upon the Tyne’ is an independent website and is not affiliated to any other organisation or group. We are supported entirely by volunteers.

Read More


twitter icon
Read tweets by ‘Kittiwakes on the Tyne
@KittiwakesTyne for latest updates.

  No twitter account needed to view this page