SBR Cuckoos Are Back Again with ‘The Big Day’

SBR Cuckoos, left to right: Karen Vanderwall, Laurie McCoy, Jim Bradford, Rick Gillaspie, Sheree Gillaspie, Carrie Gelsey, Deb Sandin, and Jim Hoagland (photo by Gerald Tietje)

Jim Hoagland

For the third year in a row, SaddleBrooke Ranch will field a team to participate in Tucson Audubon Society’s annual Bird-A-Thon fundraiser. The SaddleBrooke Ranch (SBR) Cuckoos, comprised of leader “The Birdman of SBR” Jim Hoagland, Laurie McCoy, Jim Bradford, Deb Sandin, and Kathy Williams have already achieved two remarkable milestones: Grand Champion the first year, and Highest Fundraiser the second. How will we be able to top that, we asked ourselves?!

Well, the answer was pretty simple—expand the team of birding enthusiasts. The Cuckoos welcome our newest members: Karen Vanderwall, Carrie Gelsey, and Rick and Sheree Gillaspie. All are veterans of Jim’s monthly bird surveys on our spectacular nature trail. Jim often posts photographs of the beautiful, and sometimes elusive, birds we spot on those outings on the SBR Facebook page, NextDoor, and in featured articles of “Nature’s Way” in the SaddleBrooke Ranch Roundup community newspaper.

The purpose of the SBR Cuckoos is to assist the Tucson Audubon Society (TAS) in raising funds to support the important work they do. Their mission is “inspiring people to enjoy and protect birds through recreation, education, conservation, and restoration of the environment.”

The SBR Cuckoos have chosen to continue the format of “The Big Day: Free Style,” where we attempt to identify as many bird species as possible in a 24-hour timespan. Our plan this year is to divide the team into two units. One will stay locally—SBR, Willow Spring Road, and Oracle’s City and State Parks. The other will go further afield in Pinal County covering Mammoth, Aravaipa Canyon Road, and the San Pedro River Crossing. If all goes well, we hope to rendezvous the two teams in Peppersauce Campground at the base of Mount Lemmon. Our Bird-A-Thon will begin the evening of April 25 and finish 24 hours later on April 26. As with last year, our goal is to exceed 100 different bird species.

We are honored to help support such a great organization as Tucson Audubon Society, and hope you will join us with your pledges. There are two ways to donate, and no amount is too small to help us achieve our goal of $7,500. The first is to donate a fixed dollar amount. The second, which is more fun, is to make a pledge that challenges the team. It could be something like $1 per bird, or $25 per owl. Let your imagination run wild! Make your donations and pledges at, or at Click on “2023 Teams” at the right of the page and then click on “SaddleBrooke Ranch Cuckoos.”

As an incentive for everyone who makes a pledge of $25 or more, you will receive Jim’s 2024 desk calendar filled with the wonderful photos you’ve come to know and love. But wait, there is more! For the individual who makes the largest contribution, Jim will gift an 18” x 12” Metal Print Photo of your choice.

Thanks to everyone in advance for helping the SBR Cuckoos achieve their goal and supporting the work of the Tucson Audubon Society.