Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

Showcasing the progress of the Kittiwakes along the River Tyne

Home Tyne Kittiwake Diary A Pair of Kittiwakes manage to nest on the Guildhall

A Pair of Kittiwakes manage to nest on the Guildhall

Guildhall – Update 27th May 2019

In 2017 Kittiwakes peacefully nested on the Guildhall down on Newcastle Quayside.  As the ‘Worlds Furthest Inland Colony in the World’ these breeding Kittiwakes were extremely popular both with local residents and tourists.  As the 2018 cycle began and the Kittiwakes started their journey back to the UK from their long winter out at sea in the North Atlantic; new anti-bird netting and spikes were installed to prevent the Kittiwakes nesting by Newcastle City Council. This was to protect what is a listed building and the local council had decided the Kittiwakes could no longer nest there.

Photo of a trapped
Kittiwake chick
on the Guildhall
Summer 2018
by @Lophophanes

This new anti-bird deterrent however, failed to prevent the Kittiwakes nesting in 2018, as they nested higher up amongst the netting and spikes.  Some Kittiwakes were injured on the spikes or trapped in the anti-bird netting. Sadly two adults were fatally injured/trapped; whilst a young juvenile needed to be rescued after being trapped behind the netting.  Following a long-campiagn and a public-outcry some of the anti-bird netting that had been involved in trapping birds during the 2018 breeding season was removed.  This did not mean ‘Newcastle City Council’ however was going to allow the Kittiwakes to continue to nest on the ‘Guildhall’.  The council instead opted to install an ‘electric shock’ anti-bird deterrent.


Pair of Kittiwakes Nesting
On the Guildhall
Summer 2019
by Paul Buskin

As the 2019 cycle started to take shape and Kittiwakes explored and prospected for nesting sites for another year; Kittiwakes were successfully deterred from spending time where the electric shock system had been installed.  Any Kittiwakes attempting to land, quickly flew away; shaking their heads a few times.

They were clearly not happy but remained unhurt and those that went through this experience, often flew off some distance afterwards.  Despite this new challenge to the Kittiwakes, some really wanted to continue to nest on one of their favourite buildings. One pair was so determined, that they have found a spot, where there are no spikes or ‘Avi-shock’ and have built their nest.  We wish them lots of luck for 2019.  We suspect however, new anti-bird deterrents will be installed for this area by Newcastle City Council before the birds return for the 2020 breeding season.

Kittiwakes nesting on
the Clocktower
Summer 2019
by Paul Buskin

More than a dozen Kittiwakes have also continued to settle on the clock tower, and nests can now be seen, with Kittiwakes in attendance. Hopefully this will be welcomed by Newcastle City Council and we won’t see new anti-bird deterrents installed on the clock tower next year. Fingers-crossed.