Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

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

Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

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.

The Kittiwake tower in Gateshead along the Tyne by Andrew Rickeard


Kittiwakes nesting 
on the 
Kittiwake Tower
in Gateshead
by Andrew Rickeard


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.

Tyne Kittiwakes
by Stuart Thompson

Two Tyne Kittiwakes by Stuart Thompson

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.

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.”
Julie Sanders

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

A Tyne Kittiwake with chicks on Phoenix House

Tyne Kittiwake Diary

Kittiwakes along the Tyne

  • Young chicks cracked open their eggs throughout July and joined us for the very first time.  There has been lots of happy families on display for ALL to see.

Kittiwakes nesting on the Baltic with chicks by Ashley Bayston

Kittiwakes on the Baltic
by Ashley Bayston


  • Five pairs nested on the side of the Guildhall, on TOP of the anti-bird spikes. Whilst two more built their nests high above on TOP of the avi-SHOCK.  Over two-dozen pairs are raising young Kittiwakes on the  Clock Tower for a third year.

Visit the DIARY page
to learn more

Ferry Mews in North Shields

  • “Despite the introduction of new anti-bird netting, which now covers the area where the colony have nested in previous years; Kittiwakes have successfully nested and started to raise young chicks”.    Angie Jenkison

A Tyne Kittiwake netting on anti-bird netting - Ferry Mews in North Shields, North Tyneside

  • “Kittiwakes have nested on a disused window ledge at the back of River Garden View; the building opposite Ferry Mews in North Shields. Easily visible to all ferry passengers who care to look”.    Andew Clayton
A Tyne Kittiwake nesting close to the Ferry Landing in North Shields - North Tyneside by Andrew Clayton

A young chick waiting with mum
for dad to come back with food
by Andrew Clayton

  • The presence of the anti-bird netting on the Ferry Mews Building in North Shields may have NOT STOPPED the Kittiwakes from nesting; however it has encouraged the colony to spread out along the roof of the building. Pairs have also nested along the guttering this year.

A Tyne Kittiwake nesting on Ferry Mews building in North Shields - North Tyneside by Andrew Clayton

A young chick with mum by Andrew Clayton
Ferry Mews in North Shields,

Kittiwake Tower in Gateshead

  • Monitoring Kittiwakes today at the nesting tower in Gateshead. 173 chicks across the three faces represents an encouraging uplift on recent years. 21 returning adults ID’d by colour rings for @_BTO “     Andrew Rickeard

Mini Expeds – Wild Intrigue
Kittiwakes & Doughnuts

  • Walks & Talks 

Kittiwakes and Doughnuts - Wild Intrigue

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

The Story of the Tyne Kittiwakes

  • A short wildlife Safari with Wild Intrigue along the North Shields Fish Quay.  This will be followed by a night celebrating our Geordie Kittiwakes with live music from Hector Gannet.
    – 13th August 2021

Find out More

Ferry Mews in North Shields
Petition Update – 5th June 2021

    • An update has been added regarding the campaign to help save the North Shields colony.

North Shields Colony
Published – February 2021 
The North Shields colony loose their nesting site - The Guardian - Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

    •  An article was published in the Guardian regarding the installation of new anti-bird netting.    Read More

Which was the best Kittiwake nest?

  • Shortlisted candidates will appear here later this month for the 2021 breeding season
  • In 2020
  • In 2019
Kittiwakes nesting on Street Lighting by Lophophanes

Kittiwakes nesting on Street Lighting
by Lophophanes

Summary Reports
Spring/Summer 2019/21

  • Summary reports are now available on the Colonies Page 
    This features an interactive map.
    – updated 22nd March 2021
  • Updates for the 2021 breeding season will appear later this month.

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.

Hello - Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

    • More photos will be added from the 2021 breeding season over the next few weeks.

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

How can we help the Tyne Kittiwakes

Could we build artficial cliffs for
the Tyne Kittiwakes to nest on?

  • 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 create a habitat for the Tyne Kittiwakes to nest?

The legendary Tyne Bridge
will be repainted and repaired

Tyne Bridge - Newcastle and Gateshead - Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

  • The restoration of the Tyne Bridge will potentially be the
    largest HURDLE the Tyne Kittiwakes have faced in a generation. 

Help us safeguard the Tyne Bridge Kittiwake colony

Brand NEW Facebook PAGE and GROUP

Launched early January 2021

Facebook Group - Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

  • A brand new Facebook Group and Page has been created.  The page is open for everyone to view; whereas the group is a private group, but anyone can apply to Join.  Please help support the local breeding colonies of Tyne Kittiwakes. 
A Kittiwake trapped in anti-bird netting on Newcastle Quayside

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.

“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.

Wye Eye Wheel Approved

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

Can you help?

“All quotes and photos are very welcome”

Kittiwakes on the Tyne Bridge by Mark Leitch

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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