Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

Showcasing the progress of the Kittiwakes along the River Tyne

Home Kittiwakes trapped in anti-bird netting

Anti-bird deterrents installed

Kittiwakes become trapped

“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.

Kittiwakes trapped in anti-bird netting - Newcastle Quayside

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 Kittiwake trapped in anti-bird netting

“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”.

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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

A young Kittiwake trapped behind anti-bird netting

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

“Design and Create somewhere more ambitious for Kittiwakes to nest”

“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.

More can be done and any efforts would not only be very much appreciated by the Kittiwakes themselves, but would be popular for local eco-tourism, education and help enhance this important riverside wildlife habitat enormously.  What do you think?

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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 anti bird netting still remained. We are hoping this is also removed before the Kittiwakes return again to nest in 2020.