96-Year-Old Spent the Last 40 Years of Retirement Saving Local Bluebird Species

February 22, 2019 Updated: February 27, 2019

If you’ve managed to make it to your 90s, it’s a sign that you’ve played your cards well in life. Many are tricked into believing that they cannot live life to the fullest once they reach that mark. But 96-year-old Al Larson will convince you otherwise with his inspiring tale of saving the bluebird species, one house at a time.

In the rocky terrain of the magnificent Idaho mountains, this retiree is often found checking bluebird nest boxes.

Posted by Bluebird Man on Friday, 14 March 2014

This self-taught conservationist has dedicated the last four decades of his life to save these beautiful birds of North America.

Most of us might wonder what got this citizen scientist to invest his last 40 years for this cause. The answer is an inspiring article by National Geographic that caught Larson’s eye. It was about crafting wooden nests for bluebirds to help save them from decline.

As he was all set to retire in the year 1978, he was looking around for a hobby that would captivate his interest, something that could keep him busy.

Coincidentally, he and his wife, Hilda, noticed a Western Bluebird visiting their backyard from time to time.

Happy Tuesday everyone! We hope all your bluebirds are doing well this spring/summer!

Posted by Bluebird Man on Tuesday, 23 June 2015

In an interview with Audubon, Larson said, “We noticed a bluebird going in and out of a cavity of an old, dead snag, I thought, “Gee whiz! I had heard about bluebird trails out East that Lawrence Zeleny had set up. If I put up boxes on my ranch, I’d have a captive group of birds to take pictures of.”

With no further delay, Larson got to work building nest boxes from pine scraps and board ends lying around his old sawmill that was installed around his property.

Al checking a bluebird box. We suspect that we all look like this when we're trying to peer into the lives of these little birds. What's going on in there??

Posted by Bluebird Man on Saturday, 15 June 2013

From the first time Larson set up a homemade bluebird box, he was hooked. His love for the beautiful azure passerines and his passion for wildlife conservation inspired him to build more nesting boxes.

Al put up this new bluebird nest box yesterday in Prairie, one of 90 donated by Wild Birds Unlimited of Boise. Can't wait for the bluebirds to move into their new digs next spring!

Posted by Bluebird Man on Sunday, 27 October 2013

“I got carried away,” Larson said. “I settled on a simple design that [was] easy to build and easy to monitor. I kept adding more boxes on these trails, and these birds responded.”

Forty years later, Larson is now monitoring close to 350 nest boxes in six different bluebird trails across Southwest Idaho.

Mama bluebird coming in for a one-footed landing. Hanging on by a toe nail!

Posted by Bluebird Man on Sunday, 9 June 2013

“This year he‘s banded over 900 birds,” says Cathy Eells, a Golden Eagle Audubon member who often drives Larson out to his trails.

The nonagenarian has installed hundreds of nesting boxes that have served to provide scientists an opportunity to study the Mountain Bluebirds in relation to the past and how much it has changed over time.

Fascinated by his work, Filmmaker Matthew Podolsky made a 30-minute documentary to chronicle Larson’s story, and titled it “Bluebird Man,” which went on to be nominated for the Emmy Awards in 2015.

We post a lot of bluebird images so today we thought to offer up a production shot of Matthew Podolsky, Director of…

Posted by Bluebird Man on Wednesday, 17 July 2013

While most people at Larson’s age would be enjoying their retired life in a relaxed estate, this wildlife conservationist serves as an inspiration to all of us.

Watch the half-hour documentary of the famous Blue Birdman and his chronicles: