Aurora bird hoarder cleaning home on his own

October 24, 2012 (AURORA, Ill.)

Dave Skeberdis, 57, has to clean up his home in the 200-block of Shadybrook Lane and turn over hundreds of birds to animal control, Aurora officials said at a press conference Wednesday morning. They also called Skeberdis' home a nuisance.

Skeberdis admits he is a hoarder, living in a town home with no power, surrounded by birds that he feels are his children. He said it all started when he saved a wild parakeet years ago and then it got out of hand.

"The problem is that I got him a couple of friends," Skeberdis said. "I started out with eight parakeets, and they breed like mice."

Skeberdis showed off his favorite bird, Sweetheart, to ABC7.

"When I was a little kid, I loved my animals and then they became more like children," he said.

To Skeberdis, the hundreds of birds in his home are his children, especially the conures.

"How can you take eight children that you have and decide which four you want to keep? How do you do that? And they all get along together and they all love me," he said.

Authorities say the hoarding case came to light last week when a paint contractor saw dead birds inside the home.

Now, the city of Aurora is considering legal action within 24 hours to clean the house and get the animals.

"We're hoping to get what we need from the court to be able to do it as soon as possible," said Alayne Weingartz, City of Aurora.

Skeberdis says he prefers to do the cleanup himself than pay someone else. He says he would have to pay thousands of dollars to a crew to do the job.

A local bird organization, which dropped off cages Wednesday, plans to pick up the birds Friday.

"Some of them will go into shock because of the move. It's just a fact of life," said Diana Federl, Greater Chicago Cage Bird Club.

That would be a shock and change for the birds -- and their owner.

"I want to do what's best for the birds. I want to do best for my neighbors. I also want to do what's best for me," Skeberdis said.

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