The REAL Birdman of Alcatraz





Produced by: RCN Media

Voice Over: Colton Nelson

Script: Colton Nelson

RELEASED: June 30, 2019

Robert Stroud, also known as The Birdman of Alcatraz was never the Birdman of Alcatraz. That was a lie. Find out more here!

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The REAL Birdman of Alcatraz Script

The REAL Birdman of Alcatraz

Robert Stroud, also known as the Birdman of Alcatraz, was born in 1890 and died in 1963. He was born in Seattle, Washington. In 1909, while working as a pimp, he shot and killed a bartender who attacked one of his prostitutes. He surrendered himself for this crime and was given 12 years in federal jail. Continuing to grow his violent reputation in jail, he stabbed and killed a prison guard, in 1916. He was sentenced to hanging, but a retrial converted the sentenced to life.

In the early 1920s, at Leavenworth Prison, Robert discovered a birds nest with injured sparrows in it. He mother them to adulthood. To occupy his time he raised domestic canaries, which he sold to get supplies and for money to be sent to his mother.

The warden, being impressed by Robert hobbies, gave him supplies to help his studies of birds. Many visitors, of Leavenworth, were shown Robert’s bird aviary and would buy birds off him. He had raised 280 birds. Due to a request to the President, he granted a second cell.

During his time at Leavenworth, he wrote a book on birds, which added an extensive knowledge to the Ornithology and Zoology.

As you could imagine, being in a small room, ie cell, and having dozens of birds, made for a good mess. This would start to become a problem for the prison administration. Though not as big as the problem with his mail. Because of his studies and becoming famous for his bird studies and publications, he received a ton of mail. Due to the large amounts of mail to Robert, and the prison has to check all the incoming mail to the prisoners, Robert was given his own secretary.

In the 1940s Robert was transferred out of the prison, due to officials having enough with the trouble his bird business had caused him. Though, the big spark came when guards found out that Robert was making alcohol in his toilet. He was transferred to the Famous Alcatraz Prison.

For the most part, the story ends there. Despite public knowledge, he was not the Birdman of Alcatraz. He was, in fact, not allowed birds at Alcatraz.

So why was he called the Birdman of Alcatraz? You see, Alcatraz has made more of a name for itself than Leavenworth, so when you popularize the man, you promote Alcatraz, too: it adds more to the marketing of the movie. The Birdman of Leavenworth doesn’t go as far as the Birdman of Alcatraz.

Fun Fact: During his time at Alcatraz he wrote a few books, which the warden did not like. He tried to stop Robert from writing altogether. A judge, though, did state that Robert could write and keep his manuscripts but did allow the warden to hold back the books from publication. The manuscripts were given to Robert’s lawyer after his death in 1963.

He spent 54 years in prison and 42 was spent in solitary confinement.

He also studied French in prison.