Birdman of Alcatraz
Life in Prison
"Birdman" Robert Stroud
The Birdman is one of the most famous convicts to ever go to Alcatraz. The Birdman’s real name is Robert Stroud. Robert Stroud’s first prison was Mcneil Island, a federal penitentiary in Washington State. He was sent there because he shot a bartender in Alaska. His record at Mcneil stated that he was violent and hard to manage. In one case he assaulted a hospital orderly, and killed a fellow inmate. He is most famous for his books and knowledge on birds. He even made scientific observations that later helped the research on the canary species.
After Robert Stroud got an additional six month sentence at Mcneil, he was transferred to Leavenworth prison in Kansas. in 1916, he was refused a visit with his brother and stabbed a guard to death in front of eleven hundred inmates in the mess hall. He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death by hanging. But after his mother pleaded for his life, President Woodrow Wilson reduced his sentence from death to life in prison without parole, And then he was permanently placed in solitude to live out his sentence. After thirty years in Leavenworth he developed an interest in canaries after finding an injured bird in the yard. Stroud was then allowed to breed birds in two connecting segregation cells because they thought this would be a productive use of his time. As a result of this Stroud was able to write two books on canaries and their diseases. He had over 300 birds in his cell and he was carefully studying their habits. He even developed and marketed medicines for many bird ailments. But after many years of his research officers figured out that some of the equipment being used were really being used for making a still for an alcoholic brew.