Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

The Furthest Inland Breeding Colony of Kittiwakes in the World

Home Kittiwake Colonies Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art – Kittiwakes

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

“The Heart of the Tyne Kittiwake Colony”

Over one-hundred pairs of Kittiwakes return every year to nest on the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. This is less than originally nested before it was converted from the old Flour Mill building to the present day art gallery.

Kittiwakes on the Baltic by Andy Rickeard

Kittiwakes on the Baltic by Andy Rickeard

At that time, an alternative nesting site was designed and constructed; ‘A Kittiwake Tower’. Efforts were actioned to encourage the Kittiwakes to nest there instead. Some of the Tyne Kittiwakes however really wanted to continue nesting on the old Flour Mill building and gradually dozens have returned and continued to nest.

The location of the Kittiwake Tower was also changed. Despite this new Tower, the Kittiwakes still returned to the Baltic building every year and in the present day over one-hundred pairs of Kittiwakes nest on the art gallery.  Over the past decade the art gallery has become a major supporter for the Tyne Kittiwakes and it can be said they play a major role in helping to raise awareness for the local colony of red-listed breeding Kittiwakes.


Kittiwakes nesting on the Baltic by Imogen @PigsHaveFlown


A viewing platform has been provided, and regular talks and events help showcase the Tyne Kittiwakes.

To complement the viewing platform, in association with the ‘Durham Wildlife Trust’ there is also now a ‘Kittiwake Cam’ where everyone can watch the nesting Kittiwakes from the comfort of their own homes. Many find the sounds of nature relaxing. This is also an opportunity to study Kittiwakes up close. Kittiwakes usually nest on sea cliffs or islands on the coast or out at sea. So such breeding sites are not often easily accessible.

Kittiwakes on the Baltic
by Steven Ward

Of course there is a cost to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art for all their efforts and there is a lot of cleaning up to do, whilst the Kittiwakes are with us during the spring/summer months. The gallery always welcomes donations towards helping with their expenses, whilst they are helping to support the Kittiwakes.

There is also a fabulous shop and café within the Baltic Centre and paid parking nearby. The exhibits within the gallery are always worth a visit.

“The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, provides an opportunity for all to get up close with the Tyne Kittiwakes and helps preserve what is the ‘Furthest Inland Breeding Colony of Kittiwakes in the World’.  Well done Baltic Centre.  We are sure the Tyne Kittiwakes appreciate their support”.


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