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 Breeding Colony in the World’
    • Supporting efforts to help safeguard the local breeding population of Kittiwakes and their environment.
    • Helping to support local educational projects that feature  local wildlife and their habitats.
    •  Showcasing wildlife along the River Tyne.

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 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 migrant birds that have travelled from far away countries to share the bounties of the big river.

Tyne Kittiwakes on the Baltic by Joe Thirlwell


Kittiwakes nesting 
on the Baltic Centre
for Contemporary Art 
by Joe Thirlwell. 


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

“The Furthest Inland Breeding
Colony of Kittiwakes in the World”

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‘. They are a soft gentle Gull with friendly personalities and they wear the black and white colours of the local Geordie football team ‘Newcastle United‘.  Why they chose this urban location no body knows, but they have fallen in love with a big city and they enjoy amazing panoramic views.

The Kittiwakes return every spring/summer

The ‘Tyne Kittiwakes’ return every year to build their nests at sites they have specially chosen themselves. They raise new chicks for the next generation of Kittiwakes. Lots of residents and visitors love to hear 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’ when they return again.

An adult Kittiwake with two chicks on the Gateshead side of the Tyne Bridge during Summer 2020.


Help save the last North Shields nesting Kittiwakes


Please help sign the Petition
to remove the anti-bird netting

Almost 7,000 have signed so far

Please help us and sign today

Daniel Turner has watched the North Shields nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes for 50 years and recorded their nesting along the Tyne in detail since 1994. 

Thirteen pairs are well established at this site which has (as of 17th Dec 2020) been smothered in bird-deterrent netting. They will be at a loss on returning from sea in late Feb-March 2021 to find their nest site blocked off. The property owner needs to remove the netting immediately and discuss with North Tyneside Council. The Kittiwake is a Red-Listed Threatened species (IUCN 2018) and evaluated as Vulnerable since 2017. Raised with N Tyneside Council as Ref: ME 183500.

Tyne Kittiwakes

Far out at sea on fish they feed
in spring return to shore and breed
the urge so strong to find a mate
to build a nest and procreate
so when they feel the annual pull
we’re visited by this pretty Gull.
Its head is white and body too
black edged grey wings another clue
a yellow bill and legs of black
nests on cliffs or coastal stack
except a colony we all know
that lives with the quayside far below
upon the bridge their homes they make
the world-famous River Tyne Kittiwake.


by Billy B

Latest News

An e-newsletter will be available soon. Watch out for how to register to receive your free copy.

Tyne Kittiwake Diary

July 2020


    • Three pairs of Kittiwakes raised young Kittiwakes on the side of the Guildhall.


  • For another year, Kittiwakes nested on some lamp posts down on Newcastle Quayside. As cars pass below, they enjoy a birds eye view.


  • A success! A pair of Tyne Kittiwakes have successfully nested on the St Mary’s Heritage Centre in Gateshead.

Visit the Diary Page to learn more

Saturday 26th June 2021

Walks and Talks
Mini Expeds – Wild Intrigue

“An amazing opportunity to learn more about the
Legendary Tyne Kittiwakes“

Find out More

Something intensely moving today about the first few Kittiwakes grabbing nest sites under the Tyne Bridge and the hopefulness of those cries on a crisp cold day. #theyearturning”

– Julie Sanders, 7th March 2020.

Which was the best Tyne Kittiwake Nest during 2019/20

January 2020

“Who was the ‘Winner’ of the best
Tyne Kittiwake nest?

for 2019?

for 2020?

Summary Reports 

Spring/Summer 2019/20
  • Summary reports are now available on the ‘Colonies Page.’  
    This features an interactive map. 
    –  updated December 2020


Breeding Tyne Kittiwakes

A Review 1994-2020 – NHSN talks
With Daniel M Turner,
Tyne Kittiwake Partnership

The River Tyne nesting kittiwakes have shown a remarkable story since their beginnings in 1949. Explore a new talk as local ornithologist, Dan Turner, shares some of their nesting sites along the Tyne and examines trends in their numbers and breeding success.        Click here to watch on YouTube

“At times the Tyne Kittiwakes fly as far away
as the Farne Islands in Northumberland to feed”

During this talk it references a paper by Chris Redfern and Richard Bevan.
A comparison of foraging behaviour in the North Sea by Black-legged Kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla from an inland and a maritime colony. This can be found on Taylor and Francis Online


Kitty the Toon by John Miles - Artwork by Barry Robson

The Worlds First Inland Colony

Text by John Miles
Artwork by Barry Robson

Amazingly illustrated, ‘Kitty the Toon’, tells the story of Kitty the Kittiwake. Newcastle hosts the furthest inland colony of Kittiwakes. This story follows a pair as they nest in the city, have babies, enjoy a game of football and head back out to sea. A great edition to any wildlife library.’

More information is available on YouTube – Kitty the Toon

Return of Kitty the Toon by John Miles - Artwork by Sarah Farooqi


Return of Kitty the Toon

Text by John Miles
Artwork by Sarah Farooqi

Return of Kitty the Toon was published April 2020, with artwork by local artist Sarah Farooqi   To purchase both books by John Miles please visit ‘Chick Books – Reconnecting Children with Nature‘  Here you can also find many more fantastic books by John Miles – Reconnecting Children with Nature. 



Photo Galleries

Showcasing a variety of locations, where the Tyne Kittiwakes have chosen themselves to build their nests, to help bring life to the next generation.  

More photos will be added, as the Kittiwakes return during 2020.  

A Greener Solution is Needed

At this time of climate change, this important red-listed species, needs our help. 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.

“Can we help the Tyne Kittiwakes to nest?”

What can we do?

Wye Eye Wheel Approved

  • “Will this new development disturb the established wildlife along the riverside?”
    What do you think?
    – updated December 2019

Anti-bird deterrents

Some buildings along Newcastle Quayside have spikes, netting and avi-shock installed.  These are deterrents to prevent Kittiwakes landing and nesting on buildings and structures.

Spring/Summer 2020

“Have you found an injured or trapped Kittiwake along the Tyne?”

Request help!

Guidance on Anti-bird Deterrents

The safe and informed use of deterrents to prevent Kittiwakes landing and nesting on buildings and structures in Newcastle City.


Can you help?

“All quotes and photos are very welcome”

Kittiwakes on the Tyne Bridge by Mark Leitch

Any quotes or photos would be very much appreciated for the Kittiwake Diary  or the new Photo Galleries section.  They both help to raise awareness for the local breeding population of Kittiwakes.  All quotes/photos are credited to authors.
Read More



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