Tyne & Wear

Newcastle-Gateshead kittiwakes at record high

Nest on a street light Image copyright Daniel Turner 2019
Image caption Ornithologist Daniel Turner said the birds were inventive and "resilient" when it came to places to nest

A colony of breeding kittiwakes is at its largest despite spikes and nets being laid, a charity said.

The protected seabirds nest at Tyne Bridge and Newcastle-Gateshead Quayside and the number of pairs has risen from 872 in 2015 to 1,353 in 2019.

Local businesses had complained about the mess and noise and 15 birds died "horribly" in nets in 2018.

This year only one bird died after becoming trapped in a net, the Tyne Kittiwake Partnership said.

Image copyright NAtural History Society Northumbria
Image caption A kittiwake chick being weighed by volunteers and members of the Tyne Kittiwake Partnership

Daniel Turner, from the partnership, said meetings had taken place with local businesses and "dangerous" netting had been removed.

Instead, some businesses have installed electrical systems which deliver harmless shocks to birds that land.

Image copyright Daniel Turner
Image caption The birds have been nesting at the site since 1949

The birds - a type of gull - are thought to have the furthest inland Kittiwake nesting site in the world.

They are popular with birdwatchers but businesses have complained about noise and mess.

Image copyright Daniel Turner
Image caption The birds managed to nest in between the illegal spikes

Mr Turner noticed illegal spikes on high ledges of the Tyne Bridge, in 2015 and informed Newcastle City Council which had them removed.

Blánaid Denman spokeswoman for the the RSPB, said the only recorded bird death due to netting this year was at the Vermont Aparthotel on the Quayside.

No-one from the hotel was available for comment.

Image copyright Dougie Nisbet
Image caption The ledges of the Baltic Art Gallery are a popular spot for the birds

Helen Quayle, policy officer for the RSPCA, said: "The Tower of London has its ravens and the Tyne Bridge has its kittiwakes.

"These are such a beautiful birds and we are privileged to have them in an urban setting - we have had constructive engagement from several businesses."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites