Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

The Furthest Inland Breeding Colonies of Kittiwakes in the World

Home Tyne Kittiwake Colonies Queen Street

Queen Street

A returning colony on Newcastle Quayside”

In 2015-16 up to three pairs of Kittiwakes nested on Queen Street on Newcastle Quayside, with one chick raised from their attempt.  After an absence of four years, they returned again in 2021.

For over two decades Kittiwakes have been flying from the coast and the North Sea, along the River Tyne and have been settling to build nests as part of colonies eleven miles inland on the quaysides of Newcastle and Gateshead.  Some sites which have been chosen by the Kittiwakes themselves are owned by individuals or organisations where their presence has been very much welcomed such as the Baltic Gallery for Contemporary Art or the Saltmeadows Tower.

Whereas some owners, because of any noise or mess have not been so keen.  Due to the need to protect what are in many cases older more vintage buildings; legalisation currently prioritises, this over the need to conserve what are a currently a red-listed species of Gull. Owners have then been able to install anti-bird deterrents such as netting, spikes, avi-shock and gels to deter any Kittiwakes from nesting.

In the heart of Newcastle Quayside as visitors and residents start to climb up to the inner parts of the city, there is such a building on Queen Street. This has avi-shock installed, and there is a history of birds nesting, then being absent for some time.

As of the 2023 breeding season up to 19 pairs were found nesting
successfully raising a dozen young chicks”.

There are currently no anti-bird deterrents where they are nesting. The avi-shock exists more on the higher reaches of the building which can be best viewed from the Tyne Bridge.

As it expands the risk of anti-bird deterrents being installed increases, and the more pairs choose this location, the higher the odds, they may become trapped or injured by deterrents such as spikes or netting.

What does the future hold for this small colony”? 

We wish them good fortune and will be watching out for their welfare over the coming seasons.