That’s nothing! I grew up on a lamp post!

Kittiwake chick on a street light. Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

Older readers may remember the hilarious sketch by Monty Python where they play four Yorkshiremen trying to outdo each other in terms of how poor and deprived they were whilst growing up! If not, here are a couple of versions of the sketches:

For some reason, I was reminded of this sketch whilst photographing this Kittiwake chick, which has spent the whole of its short life, since hatching out of an egg a few months ago, sitting above a busy road, on top of a street light!

Kittiwake chick on a street light. Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

Their natural habitat is of course on cliffs, but they have taken to living in towns, on the artificial cliffs we create for them, probably because it is safe from predators (such as peregrine falcons).

Kittiwake chick on a street light. Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

The parents have done a fantastic job of rearing this chick on a lamp post. I am told this is the second year they have nested on the light. They may have decided to nest here because their original nest site had been blocked off by anti-gull netting. Kittiwakes are pretty adept at coping with all the spikes and netting which owners put up to try and prevent them nesting on their building, but sometimes, alas, there are casualties.

One kittiwake died and is still attached to the nest.
Anti-kittiwake spikes! Scarborough

So, perhaps a street lamp is not such a bad choice. As long as you don’t mind the people and traffic passing below, and as long as you don’t fall off!

Kittiwake chick on a street light. Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

So I am hoping this chick stays safe for another week or so until it can fly off by itself. Chicks are just starting to fledge in Scarborough now, in late July. Here are some on a slightly less exposed spots around the town.

Juvenile kittiwake on 25 July 21. Scarborough, North Yorkshire.
Juvenile kittiwake on 25 July 21. Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

If things get really tough, I suppose they can go back to living on cliffs (like their ancestors) or in a hole in the ground like the Monty Pythons!

Kittiwakes nesting on castle cliffs, Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

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