Gaby Rico, a local artist, painted a series of birds that inhabit and migrate to the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge. Rico felt it was important to show some of the species that would be affected by the possible construction of the border wall. Below is a description from Rico on the significance of her paintings.

“This project is a visual expression that has a series of acrylic portraits of endemic and migratory birds in South Texas. Emphasizing them as the true treasure they are despite the fact that their reality has become somewhat uncertain. Golden Passage is a sample of my love for nature,  a desperate voice of the wildlife, as well as an uncontainable desire that our birds prevail against any human or natural threat.

“I have mixed feelings towards the refuge actual situation since it gives me great satisfaction to witness the wildlife so majestic, beautiful and diverse and second, it causes me impotence, frustration, and sadness to think that all this treasure is getting out of hand so suddenly.

“We are so used to belong to these lands and at the same time to believe that these lands belong to us, being that this is not the case.

“Wildlife is a treasure and it is very sad that we take it for granted that it is there and we even think that it is eternal and there are high probabilities that we have not given the true value it deserves.

Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge has 2,088 acres of protected land as a sanctuary for endemic and migratory bird species and is considered one of the main birdwatching sites in the country with more than 400 species of birds, more than 200 species of butterflies, as well as being home to wild cats in danger of extinction like the ocelot and the jaguarundis.”

Peregrine Falcon

Green Kingfisher

Red Crowned Parrot

Northern Parula

Roseate Spoonbill

Tricolored Heron


Great Kiskadee

Barn Owl

Green Jay

This Saturday, Jan. 27, there will be a great opportunity to show your support for Santa Ana and its residents. Join the community at the Rally to Save Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge.

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The series is called “Golden Passage”. Four of the acrylic pieces above have been selected for an upcoming borderland themed art show at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art on January 30th. Rico’s art can also be seen at

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