Date: 3/14/19 7:08 am From: Stephen Mirick <smirick...> Subject: [Maine-birds] Denny Abbott
It's a very sad day for the New England birding community as I have to
report that Denny Abbott passed away yesterday afternoon due to
complications related to Parkinson's disease. He was 83.
I first met Denny on August 27, 1983 on the mudflats of Hampton harbor
in NH where he showed me my life Black Skimmer. At that point, he "took
me under his wing" and taught me a tremendous amount about birds,
identification, and status and distribution. And he showed me how FUN
Birding could be. We traveled to North Carolina, New York, and all
around New Hampshire in search of rarities.
Long before eBird, NHBirds, the internet and cell phones, there was
Denny Abbott. When you wanted to know about birds in New Hampshire,
Denny was ALWAYS the point person to call. And he would bend over
backwards helping anyone who called. He will be sadly missed.
I will add further information as it comes available.
Below is a link to a few of my photos of Denny as well as an excerpt of
the presentation speech written by David Donsker and given to Denny when
he was awarded the Goodhue-Elkins award for his contributions to New
Hampshire birding in 2004.
> Denny has devoted most of his adult life to recording the occurrence
> of birds in New Hampshire and to furthering our knowledge and
> understanding of their identification and distribution.
> A New Hampshire native, Denny spent his working career in government
> service as a marine engineering technician chiefly at Portsmouth and
> other naval shipyards.He devoted long hours and energy to his work,
> which earned him awards for his dedication and service, but this
> didn’tprevent him from vigorously pursuing his interest in birds and
> birding which blossomed in his early thirties.Over the years, no one
> has seen more birds in our state, and Denny can proudly, but with
> typical modesty, claim an impressive total of 366 different species.
> But his birding activity hasn’t been limited to merely to “listing” birds.
> Denny understood the importance of contributing his many field
> observations from early on and became a regular contributor to /New
> Hampshire/ /Audubon Quarterly/ (later /New Hampshire Bird Records/)
> and to/American Birds /(now /North American Birds/)/./He became a
> seasonal bird records editor for the /Quarterly /in 1973 and its
> chairman in 1976. Currently he serves as a member of the New Hampshire
> Rare Birds Committee having replaced Kimball Elkins when he retired
> from that position years back.His photographs of birds have been
> incorporated into /New Hampshire Bird Records/ both as documentation
> of rarities and, more recently, as subjects for the journal’s bird
> identification quiz.
> Denny has been a devoted leader and participant in that quintessential
> activity of citizen science, the Christmas Bird Count, covering most
> corners of our state for well over thirty years. He has been a
> back-bone of the Coastal count, enthusiastically participating since
> the early 1970’s and serving as the compiler of that count area for
> several years in the latter half of that decade.He has participated
> with equal vigor in both of our most northern CBC counts,
> Errol/Umbagog and Pittsburg, since the 1970’s and was the compiler of
> those counts for a remarkable 21 years, beginning in 1980. Over the
> decades he has also actively participated in the Lee/Durham, Isles of
> Shoals, Laconia/New Hampton, North Conway and Nashua/Hollis counts.
> Denny served as a volunteer for the New Hampshire Breeding Birds Atlas
> project in the 1980’s confirming the records of other field observers.
> In addition to published material, Denny has eagerly contributed his
> knowledge of our birds and birdlife to others both in the field and in
> the lecture hall.On a more formal basis, he has led field trips for
> ASNH and other birding organizations and has lectured on owls,
> shorebirds and the birds of Guam.Less formally, he generously shares
> his expertise and in-depth knowledge of the state’s birds with those
> who call him or join him in the field and it is generally well known
> that he will more than happily spend his time with in-stateand
> out-state birders alike who want him to help them find an unusual bird
> or who wish to know more about New Hampshire and New England birds and
> Although organizational membership it is not a requirement for the
> Goodhue-Elkins award, Denny has been an active participant in birding
> organizations. He has been a member of ASNH since 1967 and was one of
> the charter members of the Seacoast Chapter. He served as a trustee of
> ASNH for several years and was a member of the trustees’ Membership
> Committee for three years, serving as its chairman in 1975.He was
> elected to membership in the Nuttall Ornithological Club in 1976 and
> was one of its councilors from 1982-1985. Denny was also one of the
> earliest members of the American Birding Association, at a time when a
> national meeting of that organization could fit around a large dinner
> table, and served a stretch on the ABA’s board of directors.