The Birdman and his pet Gladys.

The Birdman of Alcatraz (Robert Franklin Stroud, 1890-1963), was an American prisoner who was an expert on birds. While housed in Leavenworth jail, Stroud kept many birds as pets, but contrary to the pop culture lexicon, he was not allowed to keep pets while incarcerated at Alcatraz prison.

While at Leavenworth, Stroud nursed injured sparrows back to health, and keep them as pets, but switched to canaries (which he used as a supplemental income in bartering with them for supplies).

The film, Muppets from Space features a lab rat named The Birdman, who keeps a pet pigeon named Gladys. His name is a nod to Stroud, and the book and film based on his life.


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