Kittiwakes have returned to Newcastle Quayside after spending their winter out at sea.
Nesting on buildings, bridges and other structures on the Quayside, these birds have started returning amid the Covid-19 lockdown. The birds are small gulls that nest in colonies on sea cliffs, and are most often found in coastal areas. It is rather rare for them to be found as inland as at the Quayside. In fact, the colony is the furthest inland breeding colony in the world, the Chronicle reports.
The Quayside is home to around eight hundred pairs of breeding Kittiwakes
Since the 1960s, the Quayside has been a point for breeding for these birds, and it shows how humans and wildlife can co-exist in urban areas, the Wildlife Trust declares.
The gulls make nests that are around 30-60cm apart from each other on narrow ledges, and are made of mud and vegetation. They lay between two and three eggs in the months May to June. An incubation period of four weeks then takes place before the chicks hatch. The care of these chicks is down to both the mother and the father, who feed them regurgitated fish. The chicks normally fly at forty-two days old, and then leave the nest a week after this.
During lockdown, these birds are featuring on a live webcam
The Wildlife Trust Durham has a live streaming video on its webpage between March and August, where they can be seen nesting and sheltering. The video is down to the work of both the Baltic Centre for Contemporary and the Wildlife Trust, who are working to raise awareness via the Kittiwake Cam.
You can watch the birds live here.
Last modified: 25th April 2020