Giving, for the Birds

Local photographer Ramiro Leon recently donated a portion of his art show proceeds to the Pacific Wildlife Care (PWC) in Morro Bay. As an avid hiker, camper and rock climber, Leon thought it was only natural to give back to the area he enjoys.

“It’s fun to get out and hike around and take my camera and shoot,” said Leon. “I donated to Pacific Wildlife Care because they are locals and my photographs and my art are of wild animals.

Armed with his 7D Mark II Canon and a 400mm Prime telephoto lens, Leon shoots local wildlife and features his captured images in frames from recycled wood.

“I had the idea of recycling wood,” Leon said. “A lot of it is in good shape and it was just going to go to the dump, I do construction, so I starting making frames for them. “

Leon and his dog, Trooper, prowl the coastline from Big Sur to Ragged Point hunting for interesting photo opportunities, but they spend the majority of their time on Black Hill Trail in Morro Bay. He has caught images of an osprey eating a freshly caught fish and coyotes lurking about the hill next to the golf course. One of his proudest moment as a photographer was snapping a shot of the elusive Merlin, a small falcon also known as a ‘lady hawk.’ Back from declining numbers with the ban of DDT, Merlins can be spotted locally during their winter coastal migrations.

Founded in 1986, the PWC is the only licensed rehabilitation center in San Luis Obispo County and operates through donations and grants. With roughly 200 volunteers, the PWC helps and heals birds, animals, and reptiles that have been found injured in the wild. According to their website, the PWC treats nearly 3000 wild animal patients a year from over 200 different species. Last November, volunteers returned a bald eagle into the wild at after nursing it back to health for nearly half a year.

The PCW will be celebrating its 30 year anniversary with Wide in the Plaza. The free, family-oriented event takes place on Sat., March 13 at 11 a.m. in the San Luis Obispo Mission Plaza. There will “native natural ambassadors” such as owls, hawks, and falcons to greet patrons, as well as, street performers including; jugglers, unicyclist, and clowns. “We encourage kids to wear wildlife costumes. There’s going to be a parade,” said Meg Crockett, past president of the PWC. “It is going to be just like a European street fair.”

For more information, visit

If you see a wild animal in distress, keep your distance and call the PWC Hotline 805-543-9453 (WILD)

Leon plans to showcase his photos and custom made frames in Morro Bay on Saturday, Feb. 25, if the weather permits. The venue has yet to be announced.
By Mark A. Diaz