Historical Events  People
Birdman of Alcatraz

The birdman of Alcatraz had hundreds of birds at Alcatraz

The birdman of Alcatraz never had any birds at Alcatraz 

How many birds did the Birdman of Alcatraz have?

Portrayed as the gentle, caring bird lover who ended up in Alcatraz as a victim of circumstance in the famous 60's movie starring Burt Lancaster, most people today think of him as non-violent, with some even going so far as to say he was innocent.

Robert Stroud was actually a violent convicted murderer who was sentenced to hang 3 times. Each was delayed on appeal, before he was finally committed to life imprisonment. He was in Leavenworth prison in 1920, in solitary confinement, when he started caring for 3 injured sparrows. The numbers grew until he ended up with hundreds in his cell, for which the authorities provided equipment. He began researching and writing about the birds, and became famous as a result.

He was transferred to Alcatraz when it was discovered he was using his bird equipment in Leavenworth to make alcohol. No pets were allowed in Alcatraz. That means no birds.

Robert Franklin Stroud

On one level, it should be obvious he was violent by the mere fact he was in Alcatraz. This wasn't just an ordinary prison that happened to be on an island. In it's day it had a fearsome reputation and regular prisoners were definitely not sent there routinely. He was diagnosed a psychopath and had an IQ of 112.

The uncomfortable truth is that he was a pimp who killed a bartender, then killed a prison guard.