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Al Larson: Idaho's 'Bluebird Man'

Preface:  This blog is mostly about humor and culture, and I poke fun of Idaho a lot.  A LOT.  However, the Gem State does have a few gems in it.  I was approached to do a guest post about Idaho's "Bluebird Man" and a kickstarter campaign to help produce a documentary.  I did research on this guy and Idaho's state bird, and it absolutely fascinated me.  Apologies for the lack of 'funny' today, but this is actually worth the read.  I'm happy to support a good cause like this, and applaud The Bluebird Man for his efforts.

Idaho is home to a huge diversity of nature landscapes and many spectacular mountain ranges.  One such area that is often overlooked is the Owyhee Mountain range along the Idaho-Oregon border.  This is where the main character of our new documentary film “Bluebird Man” grew up in the 1930s, at the height of the Great Depression.  Al Larson was 12 years old when his mother died and he was sent out to the Owyhees to live with his two older brothers in a small ranching community near Jordan Valley.  Al spent two years attending school at the small one-room schoolhouse in Pleasant Valley, ID before starting work as a ranch hand.  It was on the ranch that he saw his first Mountain Bluebird perched on a fencepost.  This memory would stick in his mind for decades to come and eventually shape the course of his long life.

            By 1978 Al had served in WWII, raised a family in Boise, worked for many years at a sawmill, and helped found Idaho’s first chapter of the Audubon Society.  He was looking for a retirement project when he came across a National Geographic article about precipitous declines in bluebird populations across the continent.  That same year Al put out his first nest boxes designed specifically for bluebirds.

Al taught himself everything that he needed to know to monitor and maintain his bluebird boxes and within just a handful of years he was monitoring and maintaining hundreds of boxes and fledging close to 1,000 bluebird chicks each year!  Today, at age 91, Al has over 300 nest boxes that he takes care of and calls his own.  What started as a retirement project has become his life’s work.

            Telling Al’s story is hugely important to us for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, we hope to inspire the next generation of conservationists and bluebird enthusiasts by highlighting Al’s unique role in this conservation effort.  We also hope to show how beneficial Al’s relationship with his bluebirds is for both him and the birds.  While the bluebirds receive additional nesting habitat from Al, from the bluebirds Al has been given the focus and energy that has kept him active and alert into his 90s.

            Become a part of Al’s story by backing “Bluebird Man” on Kickstarter.  You will be ensuring, not just that our film gets made, but that Al’s legacy continues.

Link to “Bluebird Man” Kickstarter page:

“Bluebird Man” website:
Wild Lens website:
“Bluebird Man” facebook page:

Wild Lens twitter feed:

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