Sierra Birds: A Hiker’s Guide

Paperback, 4.75 x 8.75,
64 pages, with full-color
illustrations throughout.
ISBN: 9781597144872.

BUY from heydayBUY ON BOOKShop

By John Muir Laws

As a naturalist managing the field studies program at the California Academy of Sciences, John Muir Laws noticed that novice birders often distinguish birds by color and size rather than species. This inspired him to create Sierra Birds: A Hiker’s Guide, a unique book that assumes no prior birding knowledge on the part of the reader. Color-coded keys eliminate the time-consuming frustration of thumbing randomly through a guide, and a cross-index is also included for more advanced birders. All this in a format that is simply organized, lightweight, and small enough to tuck inside a pocket.

A first-rate naturalist, John Muir Laws is also an accomplished artist. His illustrations are lively, colorful, and accurate, and drawn to represent species in the manner in which one generally sees them in the field.


“[Sierra Birds is] heavyweight among Sierra Nevada natural history guides and packed with great information. The concept of creating a hiker-friendly field guide stripped to the bare essentials is brilliant and executed to perfection.”

California Wild


John 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