The Birdman Of Alcatraz

By: Kyle Van Roekel

Before Birdman (Robert Stroud) was ever caught and got convicted of anything he lived in Alaska. He was pimping in Alaska for slightly over two years. Birdman shot a bartender to death who failed to pay a prostitute, and then took his wallet to ensure that him and the prostitute would get her services. Then about two years later Stroud was convicted of manslaughter and sent to McNeil Penitentiary.


Life In Prison

While Stroud was in Mcneil Penitentiary he assaulted a doctor who reported him to the administration that he attempted to obtain narcotics, and stabbed an inmate who was involved in smuggling the narcotics. After these attacks Stroud was added another 6 months to his sentence, and taken to Leavenworth Prison in Kansas.


While Birdman was in Leavenworth he killed a guard and was ordered to execution by hanging on May 27. Then the trial for execution was later dropped and instead Birman was sentenced to the death sentence while he was in solitary confinement. He was in the yard one day in Leavenworth and had found three injured sparrows, after he had found them he took them and used his time in Leavenworth to care for them. After a while switching from sparrows to canaries. Over the years in Leavenworth he raised nearly 300 canaries, while he raised the canaries he wrote two books about them, “Diseases Of Canaries” and “Stroud's Digest on the Diseases of Birds”. Stroud’s birds became a problem, because most times he would let them free and they would fly around in other cells in the prison, also with them free his cell became very dirty and his personal hygiene was reported. After all of the problems they gave him another cell to keep his birds.

Life In Alcatraz

Stroud was later sent to Alcatraz on December, 19, 1942, and was not allowed to keep his birds any longer. While in Alcatraz he spent 6 years in segregation and another 11 years confined to the hospital wing. He was allowed to access the library and studied on law for a while. He began petitioning to the government that his life sentence was cruel and an unusual punishment. That never worked, but his health started to fall and Stroud was sent to Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. He died at the age of 73 in Springfield, and was studying the french language near the end of his life.


Birdman was a very bad person, but also very intelligent. Instead of wasting his whole life behind bars and doing nothing he helped out society by writing books to give information about birds. As well as caring and helping birds. Other than birds he studied on law for a while near his late days of his life, and tried learning the French language. Overall Birdman was a very intelligent person that made very bad decisions in his lifetime.