96-Year-Old Man Helped Save Bluebirds In Idaho By Building Over 300 Nest Boxes Across The State

December 1, 2018

A 94-year-old self-taught conservationist has committed the last four decades of his life to saving North America's bluebirds.

man saves blue birds
Photo credit: Matthew Podolsky

In 1978, Alfred Larson was looking for a hobby that would keep him busy after he retired.

After reading an article in National Geographic about crafting wooden nests for bluebirds to save them from declines, he got to work building nest boxes on his ranch in Idaho.

Four decades later, at the age of 96, Larson is monitoring almost 350 nest boxes on six different bluebird trails across Southwest Idaho.

"I got carried away," Larson told Audubon. "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."

This year he's banded over 900 birds.


Filmmaker Matthew Podolsky, who was introduced to Larson through staff at Boise State University, tracked the local legend with a camera for weeks.

The result is a breathtaking 30-minute documentary, titled "Bluebird Man".

"Al is a living example of how much one person can achieve when they set their mind on a task. But he's also an example of the benefits that a project like this can have for people," Podolsky says. "Bluebirds have given meaning to Al's life, and they are truly the secret to his longevity."

Watch the film below.

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