Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

Showcasing the progress of the Kittiwakes along the River Tyne

Home Tyne Kittiwake Diary Some anti-bird netting has been removed

Some changes have been made

Anti-bird netting removed  to help protect Kittiwakes

“Almost all of the ‘anti-bird netting’ was removed where Kittiwakes
became trapped or injured during the
2018 breeding season. 

The majority of owners engaged constructively in meetings, genuinely wanting to resolve the situation, and crucially ahead of the 2019 breeding season, most of the unfit netting was removed. The property owners are now fully aware of their responsibilities in relation to deterrents and they developed protocols to ensure swift and safe action to rescue Kittiwakes should this be required. The Council has produced guidance on deterrents and there is an acknowledgement that the City needs to learn to live with these special birds.

An adult Kittiwake checking out the new fire-gel on Phoenix House


An adult Kittiwake
checking out the new
‘fire-gel’ on Phoenix House

Some properties  installed alternatives to netting including bird gel and avishock. Whilst these deterrents will displace birds that were able to nest on netting in 2018, they do not present a danger to the birds, and are legal as long as installed outside the breeding season. Fire gel was installed in small dishes along ledges and, as birds can see UV light, it appears to them like fire discouraging them from landing. All available evidence suggests that Avishock is not harmful to Kittiwakes, or any other birds, and should there be any problems it can be turned off straightaway.

New anti-bird deterrents to be monitored

To demonstrate best practice, the Council worked together with the Tyne Kittiwake Partnership and monitored their site where  avishock  was present.  This was done as the kittiwakes returned and throughout the breeding season. Should there be any issues with any avishock, this system could easily be shut down unlike netting which, if nested upon, cannot be removed during the breeding season (this would dislodge nests built up on top of the deterrent).

An adult Kittiwake investigating the Avi-shock on the Quayside Premier Inn

An adult Kittiwake
investigating the
on the Quayside
Premier Inn

You may have seen that netting is removed from ledges but not down the length of buildings; this is in acknowledgement that netting was unsuitable for these ledges where Kittiwakes were able to land. Any netting remaining down the length of buildings has been checked and made safe if required.

The continual shifting of Kittiwakes due to deterrents is something everyone is working to address as part of long-term effects to secure the future of the ‘Tyne Kittiwakes’.

Changes to Anti-bird deterrents on Newcastle Quayside

Independent Observations by a
group of volunteers

Update March 2019A returning Tyne Kittiwake to Newcastle Quayside - Summer 2019

    • Sections of anti-bird netting on the Guildhall have been removed. This has been replaced with ‘avishock’.
    • Sections of anti-bird netting on the Premier Inn Hotel, which is part of a national chain; have been removed and replaced with ‘avishock’.
    • The owners of Phoenix House, which was home to a trapped Kittiwake chick for a couple of weeks last year, (close to the Tyne Bridge), have actioned the removal of some of the anti-bird netting. This has been replaced with ‘Fire gel’.
    • Kittiwakes will be allowed to continue to nest on the ‘Tyne Bridge’. There are no plans to install any new anti-bird deterrents on the Tyne Bridge. This bridge will be subject to major maintenance within the next few years, and ‘The Tyne Kittiwake Partnership’ are working to reduce any disturbance to the Kittiwakes.
    • There has been no change to anti-bird deterrents for some of the buildings. A small group of volunteers will continue to monitor ‘Newcastle Quayside’ just in case any Kittiwakes need any support.

“Should anyone find a trapped or injured Kittiwake this season, 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.”

Lots of anti-bird netting and spikes still remain

There are some genuine reasons, why some of the buildings have retained some of the anti-bird netting/deterrents. As well as helping to prevent any Kittiwakes becoming trapped or injured, the owners are also required to protect what are in many cases ‘older buildings’. Efforts are ongoing to help protect the local breeding colony of Kittiwakes.

Further Developments

The diary section of this new website will follow the progress of the Tyne Kittiwakes. If you would like to contribute please email Any new content is very much welcomed and appreciated. You can also show your support for the ‘Kittiwakes upon the Tyne’ by following @KittiwakesTyne

More Kittiwakes become trapped and some died
during the 2019 breeding season

Update November 2019

Unfortunately despite all the efforts and changes above there was evidence of further Kittiwakes becoming trapped in anti-bird netting.