Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

The Furthest Inland Breeding Colony of Kittiwakes in the World

Home Tyne Kittiwake Colonies Kittiwake Tower

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


The Kittiwake Tower
by Andrew Rickeard

Over one-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.

Kittiwakes Nesting on the 
Kittiwake Tower
by Andrew Rickeard

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

The fifth largest colonie of Kittiwakes along the Tyne

More than 120 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. 

The artificial tower has been a great success.  The Kittiwakes love it, and successfully fledge young birds; helping to bring life to the next generation every year.”

Sketch – Kittiwakes nesting on the Kittiwake Tower by Ashley Bayston. © 2021