top of page

Robert Stroud, a.k.a. ‘The Birdman of Alcatraz’

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

Stroud, made famous by film legend Burt Lancaster in the 1962 movie ‘The Birdman of Alcatraz’ – was a genius who wrote several noted studies of bird species and diseases, ironically from inside his own cage.

Stroud was also a sociopathic pedophile – and murderer – who killed an Alaskan bartender who had only ‘tipped’ Stroud’s girl $2- after spending

night with her. ($10 was ‘customary’. . .)

Convicted of manslaughter, and sent to prison in Washington state, Stroud then attempted to kill a fellow convict by stabbing him six times with a steel ‘shank’. Stroud was then transferred to the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas, where he fatally stabbed a prison guard in the heart when his mother was turned away from a visit. Found guilty of first degree murder, Stroud was sentenced to ‘total isolation -until death by hanging.’

As the gallow’s were being readied, Stroud’s mother appealed to President Woodrow Wilson’s wife, and Stroud’s sentence was commuted to ‘Life Imprisonment -without possibility of parole.’

Robert Stroud was actually known among the Kansas cons as the ‘Canary Doctor’, as he developed his scientific interests after finding an injured hatchling in his tiny, personal exercise yard.

Robert ‘the Birdman of Alcatraz’ Stroud, never was allowed to keep bird’s during his 17 years on ‘the Rock’ – spending 11 of them confined to the room pictured.

Stroud spent 54 years total in prison, 44 years in isolation!

Having become a curious celebrity by the success of the movie, Stroud may have been released from prison . . .however when asked by the parole board why he should be let out, Stroud responded –  “because I still have people I need to kill. . .”

In an ironic twist, when the infamous ‘Birdman of Alcatraz” succumed to a kidney condition in the prison hospital at Springfield, Missourri on November 21, 1963 – it hardly made the news . . . Stroud died one day before the assasination of President John F. Kennedy.

678 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page