Hawaii vacations offer opportunities for bird pictures.
The Iiwi with its raucous calls, brilliant colors, and amazing curved bill represents the essence of Honeycreeperness to me. It has been seriously victimized, like all native Hawaiian birds, by mosquito-borne avian diseases. This means they are rarely found at elevations below 4,500 feet where the mosquito thrives. 

The Kolii plant in this image blooms only once in its decade of existence, then dies. During its explosive bloom, hundreds of pinky-purple flowers appear on radiating spikes that are pollinated by birds.

Hawaii bird pictures.

Jack Jeffrey is winner of the Sierra Club's prestigious Ansel Adams Award which honors an individual who has made superlative use of still photography to further a conservation cause.

Congratulations, Jack, for this well deserved recognition of a lifetime commitment to Hawaii's special place in the global environment.

As a boy, Jack Jeffrey explored forests and climbed trees to get a better look into bird nests.  As one of the world's foremost natural history photographers, Jack is still exploring forests and climbing trees to capture on film the essence of the birds he loves so much.

Jack has made the Pacific his home for the past 30 years, where he works as a wildlife biologist specializing in island ecosystems.  In his spare time, Jack is dedicated to photographing the rapidly changing natural history of the Pacific islands before many native species are lost forever.  He lived on Guam for nine years, and traveled throughout Micronesia.  Since that time, he has returned on several occasions to photograph the native species of Micronesia.

Today, Jack lives in Hawaii, where his intimacy with Hawaii's hidden valleys and remote rainforests is reflected in his highly acclaimed images.  Combining a naturalist's curiosity with a photographer's patience and technical skill, Jack is able to capture the spirit of rare birds, plants and other natural treasures within his magic lens.

photo of Hawaiian Hawk or I'o by Hawaii nature photographer, Jack Jeffrey

The endangered 'lo or Hawaiian Hawk is found only on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Recent studies indicate that its populations are relatively stable which may mean downlisting to threatened status in the future.  To my surprise, this 'lo landed not far from me in the forest; while I photographed, the bird continued to fly and hop towards me until it almost filled the frame.

photo of tiny Hawaiian honeycreeper or Anianiau by nature photographer Jack Jeffrey

Found only on Kauai and easily overlooked because of its size, this smallest of the Hawaiian Honeycreepers, Anianiau, feeds on insects and some nectar.  Because the bird "trap lines"-returning regularly to gather nectar at the same flower-it seemed  a straightforward matter to set up my equipment a short distance from the flower and wait.  To my chagrin, it was three hours before I was blessed with this wonderful image.

Jack is co-author of two books on Hawaii's birds and his color photographs are frequently seen in such publications as National Geographic (Canon Endangered Species Series), National Wildlife, Audubon, Smithsonian, Natural History, Life, Pacific Discovery, Hana Hou, and Hawaii, as well as in text books, calendars and postcards.  His photographs of the Micronesian Cardinal Honeyeater and Hawaii’s Crested Honeycreeper have also served as a basis for the U. S. postage stamp Endangered Species Series.
On Jack's beautiful website, www.jackjeffreyphoto.com/, he generously shares where are the best places to photograph birds in the Hawaiian Islands

photo of Hawaii Akepa bird by nature photographer, Jack Jeffrey

The endangered Hawaii Akepa lives only on the Big Island in the mid-elevation rainforests, feeding on insects and living high in the tree canopy.  This tiny nine gram Honeycreeper with its crossed bill has always been my photographic nemesis.  One morning I was photographing plants when it perched in a nearby bush and sang several times, allowing me to pull off a few quick shots over a 2-3 minute period.

photo of Nene or Hawaiian Goose by nature photographer, Jack Jeffrey

The Nene or Hawaiian Goose is the State bird, endemic to the Hawaiian Islands.  In the 1950s, it was close to extinction, with only about 25 remaining. Since then, captive breeding and protection from predators has re-built the population to 1,700 birds.   Trail hiking, I came upon this pair in the wild which fed, rested and preened while I happily photographed at unusually close range for this wary bird.

photo of Hawaiian Palila bird  by nature photographer, Jack Jeffrey

Found only on the Big Island in the dry, high elevation Mamane Forest, the Palila feeds almost exclusively on the seeds of this particular tree, ripping open tough pods with its powerful finch-like bill and devouring the soft young seeds. This endangered bird is found at elevations above 7,500 feet on the upper slopes of the volcano, Mauna Kea, where dry, windy, dusty conditions prevail.  The challenge in such an environment is to keep dust, not rainforest moisture, out of camera equipment!

photo of Hawaiian Honeycreeper, Apapane, by bird photographer, Jack Jeffrey

Although common in the islands, the Hawaiian Honeycreeper, Apapane, is by no means easy to photograph.  Quick and nimble, it feeds on nectar and insects at the top of the rainforest canopy.  Occasionally, it may be found lower to the ground  searching for food, but is always very wary.

photo of Happy Face spider by Hawaiian nature photographer, Jack Jeffrey

No, this image has not been computer enhanced!  The Happy Face spider is found in the native rainforests of Hawaii in places called....and I'm not kidding....Happitat!!  Markings vary greatly, with some having clown-like faces, others more akin to alien space invaders.  Legs and all, the spider is about one centimeter long. It takes a lot of magnification to bring to a viewable size on a slide.

photo of critically endangered Hawaiian crow, Alala, by nature photographer, Jack Jeffrey

The Alala or Hawaiian Crow is one of the most critically endangered birds in Hawaii.  I photographed this one in the wild; the last two were seen in 2002.  Loss of habitat, disease and predation have devastated the Alala population, but a captive rearing program of 50 birds on Maui and the Big Island, under San Diego Zoo direction, may make future release in the wild a possibility as numbers grow and habitat becomes available..

Jack Jeffrey has recently begun offering customized birding day tours for individuals and small groups on Hawaii's Big Island. For arrangements and rates, contact him directly at jjphoto@hawaii.rr.com. See 8-minute video of his conservation work and tours.

Click on our Alternative Hawaii Table of Contents page to explore the many tours, accommodations and treasures of five islands in the Hawaiian chain.

Love those birds?
Please visit our other popular photographic showcase and insightful commentary on the birds of Trinidad & Tobago by wildlife photographer, Roger Neckles.

Victor Emanuel Nature Tours logo.With 36 years experience, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours offers 140 birding and natural history tours and cruises to over 100 destinations. Expert leaders and local guides ensure fun, educational, and memorable trips, while supporting local conservation organizations. See our annual Hawaiian Islands birding tour dates. www.ventbird.com.

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