Wild Lens board member Joseph Leibrecht.

I currently reside in Hawai’i working as a field biologist studying the native Hawaiian forest birds. My past projects have taken me to the remote Alaka’i Plateau of Kaua’i studying the endemic forest birds Akikiki, A’keke’e and Puaiohi, the Big Island of Hawai’i working on the Kipuka Project, USGS Pacific Island Research Center Avian Disease Project and most currently working on the USGS Hawaii Forest Bird Demographic Project at the Hakalau Wildlife Refuge. I will soon elaborate on my current project in my next blog entry.

Here’s a video I shot and edited of the bird research we were doing on the Kipuka Project. View a snapshot of our research gaining insight on the relationship of exotic invaders and ecosystem size. The video highlights the rigors of field work, the remarkable ecosystem, and the banding and nest searching procedures involved for learning about the impacts on the native birds.

My past work on the Big Island of Hawaii has helped inspire my art piece for the Hawaii Nei Art Contest. I decided to take advantage of my free time during the government shutdown to create a composition that involved my drawings, photographs and computer manipulation. I’m excited to announce that my art piece “Bailleui Bryani Aina” received an honorable mention at the Hawaii Nei Art Contest. My composition depicts some of the native flora and fauna found in the Hawaiian dry forest such as forest birds Palila (Loxioides bailleui) and Hawaii Elepaio (Chasiempis sandwichensis bryani), and the Mamane tree (Sophora chrysophylla). Learn more about the native forest birds of Hawai’i.


The Hawai’i Nei art exhibition was created to celebrate and educate the public on Hawaii’s native flora and fauna. Hawai’i Nei is a collaboration among the Three Mountain Alliance (watershed coalition), the Natural Area Reserves System (NARS) and the Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project.

Please stay tuned for more stories and adventures from Joey in the Hawaiian Islands! Check out the following links to learn more about Hawaii’s fragile and declining avian ecosystems and more. For now, enjoy this mesmerizing video of lava that I filmed in the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

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Links of interest:

Kaua’i Forest Bird Recovery Project
Article about Kaua’i’s birds in “Winging It” (official newsletter of the American Birding Association) by Alex Wang and Oscar Johnson
Kauai’i Endangered Seabird Project
Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project
Native Forest Birds of Hawai’i
Virtual Tour of a Kipuka – See, hear and experience the wet tropical forests of the Kipuka and surrounding matrix of lava flows.
Endangered Hawai’i – 2012 Film by the American Bird Conservancy about the plight of Hawaii’s birds.
Pacific Island Ecosystem Research Center

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