Freshman Holmer raises massive assortment of birds

Melissa Reise, Managing Editor

For one Lakeland student, bird really is the word.

Freshman computer science major Dustin Holmer houses a not-so-modest amount of birds right in his own home. Hiding behind a quiet demeanor, Holmer has a unique passion in cherishing his marvelous winged creatures.

The Holmer family’s first bird came into their home 33 years ago and has been a fixture there ever since. Holmer grew up around his family’s collection, learning about and creating bonds with the birds. In total, the family has housed 50 birds of various species. They have sold a few over time, so they currently house 30.

Holmer states they have cockatiels, parakeets, and a couple different parrots, including African Grays and Amazons. Many of the birds have the ability to talk, including one named Lolita, who originates from Mexico and therefore retained Spanish. Their house used to be a store and became their house after being remodeled, so most of the birds are kept in a large garage-like room down the hall from the living area.

Holmer states that his favorite bird, an 8-year-old parrot named Bubba, is a feisty one who has always been a challenge. Holmer claims the idea of trying to make Bubba nicer is what makes him so fond of the bird. Bubba had also been born in the home along with many of the other birds.

Asked what he would like people to know about owning birds, Holmer said, “I see how people think this is cool, but to me, it’s normal. It’s all I’ve ever known.”