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 showcase local educational projects that feature  local wildlife and their habitats.
    • Encouraging 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.

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‘. Why they chose this urban location no body knows, but they have fallen in love with a big city and they enjoy 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

Tyne Kittiwakes

The ‘Tyne Kittiwakes’ returned and  hundreds successfully nested during 2019. They raised new chicks for the next generation of Kittiwakes. Everyone enjoyed 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 next year.
A Tyne Kittiwake in flight

Have you read the Diary?

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 is also updated information showcasing progress with an interactive map 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 netting was

removed, and replaced with alternative anti-bird detterants such as ‘Avi-shock’ and ‘Fire-gel’ by some of the buildings owners.

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’.

Birds continue to nest on Quayside Buildings

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. More buildings along ‘Newcastle Quayside’ were also chosen by the Kittiwakes to nest this season.  Read the ‘Kittiwakes Diary‘ to learn more.

Read More

More anti-bird deterrents continue to be installed

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 Kittiwakes, and over the years, many  quayside buildings have become carpeted with spikes, anti-bird netting, electric shock systems and fire-gel.  These anti-bird detterants have been installed by the owners of the buildings to try and prevent Kittiwakes nesting.  Some of the older buildings have also vanished from the landscape with new more modern structures spreading across the horizon; many of which are not suitable for Kittiwakes to nest securely. New businesses are also opening, which at times may not take into consideration their feathered neighbours, that have been present along the River Tyne for decades.

 Tyneside – Local Heritage

“Tyne Kittiwakes have been nesting along the River Tyne since the 1940’s.
For many of us the Tyne Kittiwakes have been around our whole lives”.

Meet Kitty, the anti-bird net inspector

Kitty the anti-bird net inspector So the colony has relocated many times to accommodate their neighbours that also live nearby  or  visit the region. Kittiwakes build their nests, on small ledges, high up to protect their young from predators. Lots of people recognise, the great value and importance of the local population of Kittiwakes and look forward to their return every year. Many now care so much for the Tyne Kittiwakes, they actively look out for their welfare and some local businesses and property owners, work together to celebrate what is the ‘Furthest inland colony Kittiwakes in the World.

A Tyne Kittiwake trapped in anti-bird netting during 2018 breeding season

Almost all of the ‘anti-bird netting’ was removed that was involved in last years events (2018 Breeding Season) where some Kittiwakes become trapped or were injured.  Read More


The diary page of this website has followed the progress of the Tyne Kittiwakes during the 2019 Breeding Season.  A summary report has also been drafted and is available on the colonies page with an interactive map. There is still time to submit any photos or content should you wish to include this in the diary for this year.  Please email if you would like to help make a contribution.  All help is very much appreciated, to help raise awareness for the Tyne Kittiwakes.

It is best to leave them to nest

“The Tyne Kittiwakes are the only population to nest like this in the UK.
Getting rid off them would be a disaster! Please leave them to nest and enjoy them.”

Leslie Carter @Birder1969L

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 bird, 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”

Paul Buskin, Kittiwakes upon the Tyne.

A Tyne Kittiwake nesting on spikes on Newcastle Quayside

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.  Will the Kittiwake Tower need to be moved yet again?  Read More

Online Petition –

Please take down anti-bird netting

“In 2018 a ‘Petition‘ was set up asking for the dangerous areas of
anti-bird netting, that had been trapping Kittiwakes to be removed.”

A petition to take down anti-bird netting on Newcastle Quayside that was trapping Tyne Kittiwakes
Following the upsetting scenes, where over twenty Tyne Kittiwakes were found to be trapped in anti-bird netting, lots of people showed their support by signing an online petition calling for action. It was very important any anti-bird netting that was not fit for purpose was removed as, soon as was practical to do so. It was not possible to do this whilst the Kittiwakes were still breeding.

“Over One-Hundred Thousand people signed the petition”

As the 2019 breeding season dawned much of the dangerous anti-bird netting had been removed. Disappointingly some remained. We are hoping this is also removed before the Kittiwakes return again to nest in 2020.

Please help support us

Kittiwakes on the Tyne Bridge by Mark LeitchKittiwakes nesting on
the Tyne Bridge
by Mark Leitch


Have you visited the Tyne Kittiwakes?

Would you like to share you experience?

‘Kittiwakes upon the Tyne’ is an independent website and is not affiliated to any other organisation or group. We are supported entirely by volunteers.  Any help is always very much appreciated. Any new content, such as photos  are always very much appreciated.
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