Burt Lancaster would be proud. More than 40 years after the film “The Birdman of Alcatraz” hit movie theaters, the name of Robert Stroud — while not necessarily a household word — is still recognized in many avian circles for his groundbreaking (at the time) study and research on birds and diseases. His two volumes “Diseases of canaries” and “Stroud’s Digest of the Diseases of Birds” are still in print and although much of the information is outdated, the books are still worth looking in to.
That Stroud conducted so much research and study within the confines of Leavenworth Prison (not Alcatraz as is popularly thought) is in itself quite a feat. But Stroud also dedicated much of his time to developing cures for the very diseases he identified. In particular “Stroud’s Avian Antiseptic” and “Stroud’s Effervescent Salts” were brisk sellers for canary indigestion. And another line referred to as “Stroud’s Specific” were produced for — you guess it — specific bird illnesses.
Long before “branding” became a popular term, Robert Stroud was well on his way to establishing himself as one of the most knowledgeable individuals in the field if avian medicine.
Birds sing for a variety of reasons, and not all of these motivations are linked to displays of pleasure. As their primary form of communication, birds sing to greet one another, attract a potential mate, issue a warning and even mark and defend their territory.