Eight nesting kittiwake chicks shot dead in Scarborough

Kittiwakes nesting on Scarborough seafront. pic Richard Ponter 153010E
Kittiwakes nesting on Scarborough seafront. pic Richard Ponter 153010E
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A police investigation is under way after eight kittiwake chicks were shot dead in the space of three days in Scarborough.

The young birds, who are protected under law, were all killed while nesting on the harbour walls at Scarborough between Tuesday and Friday.

North Yorkshire Police say enquiries are ongoing into the deaths. A spokesman said: “Kittiwakes are a protected species and police are very keen to find out who is responsible for these attacks.”

While most black-headed gulls are now sporting the chocolate brown hoods of their breeding plumage, kittiwakes have pure white rounded heads, dark eyes and small yellow beaks.

Kittiwake breeding colonies break up in July with the majority moving into the north Atlantic for the winter, joining many thousands of others that have bred elsewhere.

Some move as far west as the Newfoundland Banks where immature birds are likely to stay for up to two years until they are ready to return to breed in Britain.

Returning males show a marked preference for the cliffs on, or close to, where they were born while females disperse more widely.

Anyone with information is asked to call 101, select option 2 and quote reference 12150126077.