An Artificial Tower was built in an attempt
to relocate a colony of Kittiwakes
“What did the Kittiwakes think?”
To make room for a new modern art gallery, the old Baltic Flour Mill was converted into what is today the
Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
Over a hundred Kittiwakes nested on the Baltic Flour Mill before the new gallery was created. As work began to convert the old flour mill for its new use, an alternative nesting site was designed and constructed by Gateshead Council; an artificial structure called ‘The 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 and moved further away from the gallery. Kittiwakes still returned to the gallery every year and in the present day over one-hundred pairs of Kittiwakes continue to nest on the Baltic.
The new art gallery is also now an amazing supporter for the local breeding colony of Kittiwakes; helping to raise awareness for the Tyne Kittiwakes.
“Perhaps more ambitious projects are needed, such as artificial cliffs.” Read More
Over one-hundred pairs of Kittiwakes currently nest on the Kittiwake Tower and there continues to be capacity for more should the Kittiwakes themselves choose to nest there. It is amazing that Gateshead Council have funded the design, construction and maintenance of this artificial structure, which provides much needed space for Tyne Kittiwakes to nest. The nesting birds are also ringed, so their movements can be monitored which helps with research.
It can be said that the tower has been a great success. The Kittiwakes love it, and successfully fledge young birds; helping to bring life to the next generation of Kittiwakes.