Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
Over one-hundred pairs of Kittiwakes return every year to nest on the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead. This is less than originally nested before it was converted from the old Flour Mill building to the present day art gallery. Prior to the conversion, an alternative nesting site was designed and constructed a ‘Kittiwake Tower’. Efforts were actioned to encourage the Kittiwakes to nest on this artificial tower.
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 on what in the present day is now a modern art gallery.
“The Heart of the Tyne Kittiwake Colony”
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.
Gateshead Council funded the construction of the Kittiwake tower and continues to maintain this for the provision of an artificial nesting site for the Tyne Kittiwakes.
“More than 100 pairs of Kittiwakes currently nest on the ‘Kittiwake Tower’ and it has become very important for ‘research’ with dozens of birds ringed every year”.
A viewing platform has been provided within the ‘Baltic Gallery’. This can be accessed by using their lifts which transport users to and from the upper reaches of the building. Visitors can enjoy close up views of the Kittiwakes; which is especially popular with families and local schools. The gallery also hosts regular talks and events to 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.
“Thank you Baltic Gallery”
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”.