Kittiwake Towers are artificial cliffs that are created to provide a nesting site for Kittiwakes. There are two along the River Tyne.
In 2001 a tower was built in Gateshead to house 300 pairs of Kittiwakes that were displaced when the Baltic Flour Mill was transformed into the Baltic Art Gallery. The Tower is located downstream from the Baltic and has been designated as a Local Nature Reserve. It is maintained by Gateshead Council.
Kittiwake Towers are usually constructed to provide an alternative nesting site for Kittiwakes when they are deliberately prevented from nesting on a building that already hosts a colony. This might be because the building is going to be demolished or renovated or because the Kittiwakes are no longer compatible with the use of the building.
In 2014 a Kittiwake Tower was built and installed at the Port of Tyne as part of the redevelopment of the port. We understand that there are also other artificially created Kittiwake nesting sites at Suffolk (UK) and Boulogne Sur Mer (France).
The Gateshead Tower has been successful and we have learnt a lot from this project, however this work is still experimental and it remains to be seen whether displaced Kittiwakes can always be persuaded to use artificial sites or whether they will voluntarily move to such structures.
Follow the links below for more information about the Gateshead Kittiwake Tower: