Some Tauranga residents are losing shut-eye after hearing what they say is a strange banging noise echoing throughout the city at all hours of the day and night.
Residents have posted to a number of Tauranga Facebook pages after hearing loud, sudden bangs specifically in the Matua area during the last few days.
Some have complained of hearing the noise as late as 11pm and as early as 5am.
One person said it sounded like a firecracker and she was hearing it at all hours of the day, while another said his dog would not come out from under the deck as the noise echoed in the area.
Western Bay of Plenty Council compliance and monitoring manager Alison Curtis said the noise was just the annual orchard "bird scarers" and was nothing for people to be frightened of.
Curtis said the council had received about 14 calls from the public in the last 24 hours enquiring asking about the noise.
The sound was generated by bird scarers, which Curtis said was a "useful tool for orchardists to scare birds off the buds on kiwifruit orchards".
"From mid-August to mid-October is the time when orchardists use bird scarers frequently as that is budding time on their orchards," she said.
The council's compliance officer had contacted the orchardists believed to be responsible for the calls over the last 24 hours coming from the direction of Matakana Island.
They have also contacted a Rangiwaea Island orchardist, who confirmed he was operating bird scarers within the rules.
"There was one instance when the scarer was mistakenly not turned off at the correct time after sunset," Curtis said.
The council investigated each call about the noise.
Bird scarers were a legitimate horticultural tool and were a permitted activity in the Western Bay, she said. But they could only be turned on half-an-hour before sunrise and must be turned off half-an-hour after sunset.
They are permitted to be used 12 times per hour and have a decibel limit of similar to a normal conversational tone.
The scarers will most likely reduce in use from in the next week or so.