Heartbreak as netting traps and entangles endangered bird species


A kittiwake struggles and becomes entangled on some netting at Telephone Exchange building on Surrey Street in Lowestoft. - Credit: Rob Holmes

A leading wildlife charity has warned about the dangers that netting placed around businesses is having on an endangered bird species.

Photos and videos taken in Lowestoft show kittiwakes, which only have two colonies in the whole of Suffolk, becoming entangled in netting.

The netting has appeared at the BT premises on Surrey Street and at Papa John's on Station Square.

A spokeswoman for the RSPB confirmed it is calling on BT and Papa John's to remove the nets, saying: "It is heart breaking to see so many buildings in Lowestoft covered in netting to prevent these wonderful rare birds from nesting and raising their young.

"We cannot keep trying to squeeze nature into smaller and smaller spaces or demanding it fits in with our plans when we are in a nature and climate emergency.

"Kittiwakes are as endangered as giant pandas so it’s really important that we embrace, look after and celebrate our local population in Lowestoft.

"This is why the RSPB is calling on building owners and tenants of Lowestoft, including BT and Papa John's, to remove the nets on their property and give rare kittiwakes the space to raise their young."


A kittiwake flying in the sky. - Credit: RSPB

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According to the RSPB, Lowestoft is home to only one of two kittiwake colonies in Suffolk and kittiwake numbers globally have decreased by 40 per cent since the 1970s.

Kittiwakes are ‘site faithful birds’ which means that they generally return to their nesting site of the previous year.

When these nests are covered in netting this confuses the kittiwakes, so they try to get through the netting to their nests.

In the process they become trapped and entangled in the netting which can be fatal, if kittiwakes do manage to nest behind the netting chicks can also become trapped beneath this.


If Kittiwakes become trapped in netting it can be fatal for them. - Credit: RSPB

The RSPB have been in contact with BT who said they will be reviewing the use of netting and looking into alternative solutions which work for kittiwakes and people.

A spokesperson for Papa John's confirmed the building on Station Square is franchised and that the company will be contacting the landlord to enquire whether they are aware of the netting's impact on the kittiwakes.