The Laws Pocket Guide: Among the oaks and pines

Things you'll see among the oaks and pines

With an ideal climate for some of the most majestic trees in the world, the Bay Area is an arboreal playland. Take a trek through Muir Woods to see the amazing Coast Redwood. This fog-loving tree provides shelter for the endangered Spotted Owl and is the tallest and one of longest-lived trees on earth—some grow to over three hundred feet tall and live more than two thousand years! Several varieties of oak trees are commonly found in the Bay Area, and when their acorns begin to ripen in autumn, look for squirrels and Acorn Woodpeckers busily storing this nutritious food for the winter. As winter arrives, insect-eating birds—like Warblers, Bushtits, and Chickadees—converge in mixed flocks that hunt insects together as they move through the trees. Spring brings some especially vibrant blooms to the woods, and along with them come the beautiful Pipevine Swallowtail and the many butterfly species that flit about until late summer.

About the Author

John Muir LawsJohn Muir Laws is a naturalist, educator, and artist, with degrees in conservation and resource studies from the University of California, Berkeley; in wildlife biology from the University of Montana, Missoula; and in scientific illustration from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is a 2010 Audubon TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Fellow and has received the Terwilliger Environmental Award for outstanding service in environmental education. Visit his website at