This book may be your last chance to see Great Blue Herons

Natures WayLet’s hope that Nature’s Way by Bud Simpson is not the only way our grandchildren will be able to see the beautiful Great Blue Heron.

Bud Simpson is an amazing photographer. Earlier this year I read and wrote about his autobiography,The Cove. Bud grew up in probably the poorest family in Brewer during the Great Depression, and The Cove is a book of fascinating stories about how Bud spent all of his time outdoors, from the Penobscot River to Mantawassuk Cove, making his own fishing rods and canoe, scavenging from the dump when he could walk there across the river in the winter, escaping from his dilapidated house and sometimes-dysfunctional family. He and his brother figured out that the bakery truck threw out old pastries at the dump every Thursday, still in their boxes, and they brought the pastries home to eat.

I thoroughly enjoyed that book, so when Bud sent me his book, Nature’s Way, I expected more outdoor stories. Instead, the book is full of stunning photographs of Great Blue Herons.

Perhaps you have noticed the steep decline in the Great Blue Heron population. As Bob Duchesne reported in his Better Birding column in the Bangor Daily News, “A decade ago, biologists became alarmed that the number of great blue herons nesting along the Maine coast was crashing. Two-thirds of the herons were gone. I have just finished five days of birding in the Cobscook Bay area and I never saw a single heron. Not one.”

We’re not sure what’s happened, but it could be any and everything from a diminished food supply to predation by Bald eagles. A few years ago I was at the dam on Webber Pond in Vassalboro to see the annual migration of alewives, and there seemed to be a Bald eagle in every tree, but not a single Blue Heron. Please read Bob’s article, and consider volunteering for the Fish and Wildlife Department’s Blue Heron project.

And you will most assuredly want to buy a copy of Nature’s Way. The book includes lots of interesting information about Herons and every photo has a caption. Some are informative, others hilarious. I loved the photo of the Heron standing next to an angler fishing Lake Logan in Ohio, where Bud lives. My bet is that the Heron caught more fish than the angler. Bud gives us a bunch of photos of Herons with fish in their mouths, including a couple with fish so huge that they ultimately had to give up trying to swallow them.

The photos of Herons in their nests, especially the ones with baby Herons, are priceless. And you will be stunned by the photos of Herons at sunrise and sunset. Beautiful!

Nature’s Way can be purchased from the publisher, and from Amazon. Enjoy!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.