Board riders using kites are being blamed for disturbing godwits at a Northland wildlife refuge.
More than 1000 godwits are roosting in a bird sanctuary at Ruakaka before they begin a long migratory flight to Alaska.
But residents say surfers using a small estuary there are interrupting their preparation.
Royal Forest & Bird Conservation Society member Margaret Hicks says the Department of Conservation has asked them to use another waterway but the request has been ignored.
She describes the kite surfers as environmental vandals and says DoC needs to get tough and ban them from the estuary.