Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

The Furthest Inland Breeding Colonies of Kittiwakes in the World

Home Tyne Kittiwakes – Latest News Updates & Concerns 2022/2023 – Tyne Kittiwakes

Summer 2023

Absolutely heart breaking. Nature is no longer something to be lived with but controlled, destroyed or eliminated for our convenience. The Kittiwakes have used these sites for generations now, symptomatic of our selfish attitude and intolerance as a species”.     Lee Rankin

Ferry Mews in North Shields

Further losses were reported from the Ferry Mews building in North Shields.  The anti-bird netting which has now been present over the past few years has:

  1. Not stopped the Tyne Kittiwakes from nesting on the building; as they have simply either spread out, opting to nest in nearby guttering or actually nested on top of the netting.
  2. Sadly Kittiwakes are fatally becoming trapped in the netting however, which is causing unnecessary suffering and distress.

Photo by Michael Jeffels

Without changes, more Kittiwakes are likely to be lost”.

Vermont Apart Hotel on Newcastle Quayside

» Kittiwake dies after getting trapped in netting at Newcastle Quayside hotel – Chronicle Live

For the sixth year, Kittiwakes again became entangled in anti-bird netting on a hotel in the heart of Newcastle Quayside.  Despite casualties year after year, an area of anti-bird netting which is not fit for purpose, continues to be present.  The owners of the Vermont Apart Hotel are failing to check if Kittiwakes become trapped and no efforts are being invested to implement changes which could prevent further incidents.

How many Kittiwakes need to be lost before changes are made?”

Spring 2023

Ferry Mews in North Shields 

Anti-bird netting

10/10 for uglyness, 10/10 for how not to use cable ties. 0% Kittiwake friendly.


Ferry Mews in North Shields,   North Tyneside.

Conclusion = Kittiwakes likely to nest more in the guttering and on other parts of the Ferry Mews building. What is needed? A forever home for the North Shields colony.  And collective cooperation to help make this netting vanish! When we think of a Tyne Kittiwake, we think about how tame, friendly and peaceful they are. The coast and our riverside habitats are where wildlife lives. We, are in their landscape and is it not us then who are evicting wildlife as we extend our own territory? All this effort with this netting seems so cruel, aggressive and is such an eyesore.

Smiths Dock, North Shields

Kittiwakes are spending time for a third year on Smiths Dock. Plenty of space, but we are not sure how ‘forever this location is’ and it is canny low down and in the open.

Newcastle Quayside

Where a few pairs of Kittiwakes have nested on the Guildhall along Newcastle Quayside over the last few years on some anti-bird spikes, new netting now hangs down. We are guessing pairs will not be nesting there for 2023. Where will they nest instead?  


Anti-bird netting overhanging anti-bird spikes
on the Guildhall on Newcastle Quayside

The Bessie Surtees building has so many anti-bird spikes; especially higher up. These anti-bird spikes are pointless! 2 Kittiwakes lost their lives on this building during the ’22 season.  


A dead bird still remains on the Vermont Apart Hotel (From ’22 season), which may confuse visitors again as a newly trapped bird. Kittiwakes are also present on the Exchange buildings with some standing on the avi-shock.   At this time, hundreds of Kittiwakes have returned to their colonies along the River Tyne.  



Autumn/Winter 2022

Concerns – Tyne Kittiwake Colonies

One – Guildhall anti-bird spikes


Kitty, the anti-bird spike inspector

Anti-bird spikes are present on the Guildhall, which have caused injury and distress to birds from the Guildhall colony. Despite this up to five pairs nested in 2022. These spikes should be removed by
» Newcastle City Council as they have been:

  • proven to be an ineffective anti-bird deterrent, as Kittiwakes have simply nested on top of them 2021-22 and as each year passes, more pairs are choosing to nest on top of the spikes at this location. 
  • they are injuring birds and as this colony grows in size, these incidents will become more frequent. 

A Tyne Kittiwake nesting on anti-bird spikes on the Guildhall

Two – Avi-shock on the Guildhall & the Exchange Buildings

Avi-shock was installed on the » Guildhall & » Exchange Buildings in recent years. Avi-shock is a LOW voltage electric deterrent which delivers a HARMLESS but disconcerting electric pulse. This modifies the birds’ behaviour by stimulus rather than by installing a physical barrier.

Three pairs nested high up on top of the avi-shock on the Guildhall during 2022.  Adult Kittiwakes were regularly spending time on top of the avi-shock on the Exchange Buildings also.  A third building on » Queen Street also has avi-shock present, however no Kittiwakes were found to be spending time around it.  Kittiwakes have nested over the past two seasons however on other areas of Queen Street.  Pairs are nesting lower down on Queens street away from any anti-bird deterrents which are present.  


Kittiwakes nesting on top of avi-shock on the Guildhall

ON or off.  Any avi-shock present  needs to be either; otherwise
returning birds may become injured

Three – Anti-bird spikes on Bessie Surtees

New anti-bird spikes were added to the Bessie Surtees building.  These led to TWO Kittiwake losses during 2022. These SpiKES should be removed, as they have been PROVEN to be dangerous to birds.

A Kittiwake trapped – anti-bird spikes
on Bessie Surtees – Easter 2022

Four – Anti-bird netting on the Vermont Apart Hotel

For the 5th year a Kittiwake was lost in Anti-bird netting on the Vermont Apart hotel. 

How many years does it take to say this netting has been proven to KILL birds?
When will we see a change?”

Five – Anti-bird netting on the Ferry Mews

Ferry Mews in North Shields – At least THREE birds become trapped with at least one loss during 2022. As time passes and as this netting ages, the risks riSE. Will 2023 be the year where we see events pan out like they did on the
» Exchange buildings on Newcastle Quayside? Changes are needed urgently, to avoid mass trappings.

A Tyne Kittiwake 
lost on the Ferry Mews
Summer 2022

Six – Tyne Bridge Restoration

Not so many years ago, there was a WALK for the Tyne Kittiwakes, following the discovery of NEW anti-bird deterrents on the Tyne Bridge. Grants have been offered to local businesses to improve their outdoor areas on the Newcastle side of the Quayside close to the bridge and work is about to start on the TYNE Bridge restoration. There remains a risk that as part of these works, extra/a higher portion of anti-bird spikes/netting could be added. Volunteers will be watching out.

It can be said with certainty that more Tyne Kittiwakes have been lost every year in the Tyne Bridge anti-bird deterrents than any other location and these birds have been impossible to save”.