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 Colony of Kittiwakes in the World’
    • Supporting efforts to help safeguard the breeding population of Tyne  Kittiwakes and their environment.
    • Helping to support educational projects that feature
      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 in areas such as at Marsden Rock in South Tyneside; or at the  Farne Islands or Coquet Island in Northumberland.

Kittiwakes from Coquet Island  in Northumberland by Hannah Young

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.
Two Tyne Kittiwakes at South Shields 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.  

Tyne Kittiwakes from South Shields by Stuart Thompson

It is a privilege that we all need to make the most of. So come share our good fortune and help welcome the legendary ‘Tyne Kittiwakes’ when they return again.    Please visit our Raising Awareness page to read about Initiatives to help support the River Tyne breeding population of Kittiwakes. These include walks and talks by Wild Intrigue and a new documentary; ‘Seabirds in the City’. 

A young Tyne Kittiwake - River Tyne - Newcastle - Gateshead

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

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 Saunders


A Tyne Kittiwake with chicks on Phoenix House

  • Young chicks  have cracked open their eggs and are joining us for the very first time.  During the summer months, there are always 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 © 2022 


    • Four pairs have nested on the side of the Guildhall, on TOP of the anti-bird spikes during Twenty-22. Whilst more pairs have built their nests high above on TOP of the avi-SHOCK.  On the clock tower, over two-dozen pairs are raising young Kittiwakes for a fourth year”.   Paul Buskin

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 are successfully nesting and raising young chicks for a second year”.    
      Angie Jenkison

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

    • Kittiwakes nested on a disused window ledge at the back of River Garden View during 2021; the building opposite Ferry Mews in North Shields. This was easily visible to commuters using the local  ferry service”.
      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 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 are also nesting along the guttering over the past two seasons.  So this new anti-bird netting is wasteful and whilst it remains, it continues to be a potential hazzard to the local wildlife”.     Kittiwakes upon the Tyne


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,

The Guardian – 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 on the Ferry Mews building.

Read More

Which was the best
Kittiwake nest?

Kittiwakes on the Baltic
by Ashley Bayston © 2022 

Spring/Summer 2022

Latest News

  • At this time the Tyne Kittiwake colonies have remained healthy with a few suffering from heat exhaustion, due to rising temperatures.

For updates please visit our Twitter Page

Avian Influenza

  • Coastal colonies of seabirds are suffering from a wave of Avian Influenza. This is a MAJOR concern at this time. Seabird populations have already been declining rapidly in recent years due to overfishing and climate change.

Learn More

Tyne Bridge Restoration

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

Read More

Ferry Mews – North Shields

  • Sadly a Kittiwake was trapped on the Ferry’s Mews building in North Shields on Saturday 2nd July. It was rescued by the Fire Service and cared for by Blyth Wildlife Rescue, but passed away during the night. A petition which calls for the removal of this anti-bird netting which has been proven to be dangerous to birds, has been re-opened.  
    Have you SIGNED yet?

Learn More

Beesie Surtees Building

  • An Adult Kittiwake became trapped on the Bessie Surtees Building on Newcastle Quayside during Easter Sunday. The bird encountered some new anti-bird spikes and become trapped between 2 roof tiles trying to escape.

Learn More

  • Absolutely heartbreaking. Nature is no longer something to be lived with but controlled, destroyed or eliminated for our ‘convenience’. The kittiwakes have used these sites for generations now, symptomatic of our selfish attitude and intolerance as a species”.     Lee Rankin

Saltmeadows Kittiwake Tower
in Gateshead

Kittiwake Tower in Gateshead

  • I love the sound of a Kittiwake colony. There are plenty of returning birds at the Gateshead tower today, including ‘ACV’ ringed at the tower as an adult in 2006 so likely 19 years+ in age”.
    Andrew Rickeard.


Country Life Magazine

July 2022
  • Kittiwakes might be declining across the world, but these little white gulls with ink-black tips are thriving on a bridge over the River Tyne finds
    Vicky Liddell.


Wye Eye Wheel Approved

  • “Will this new development disturb the pairs nesting opposite on the Kittiwake Tower in Gateshead?”

Can you help us keep an EYE OUT for
the Tyne Kittiwakes?

Kittiwake Tower art

The Kittiwake Tower
in Gateshead
by Ashley Bayston © 2021 


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

Can we help the Tyne Kittiwakes?

Could we build artificial 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?


Brand NEW Facebook

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. This is a valuable opportunity to network with others that are helping to protect the local breeding colonies of Tyne Kittiwakes.

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.

Read More

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
The Kittiwake Galleries are currently being edited. Lots more photos will be added from the 2021 breeding season in December. The YouTube/Vimeo channels will also be featured more and enchanced.  Please help us to raise awareness by sharing your own media content with us.

Tyne Kittiwake Photo Galleries

How you can help?

Help us to raise awareness and protect the Tyne Kittiwakes”

Kittiwakes on the Tyne Bridge by Mark Leitch

Kittiwakes on the Tyne Bridge by Mark LeitchKittiwakes upon the Tyne was set up back in 2018, following the events that year where over two dozen Kittiwakes became TRAPPED or were INJURED as a result of anti-bird deterrents on Newcastle Quayside.  We remain an independent VOICE and we continue to help raise awareness and support ongoing monitoring every year.

Find our how you can
help support us for FREE

Kittee-wa-aaake, kittee-wa-aaake


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@KittiwakesTyne for latest updates.