Clean-up crew takes over bird hoarder house

October 26, 2012 (AURORA)

Dave Skeberdis, who has been hoarding birds for years, had been trying to clear out the home on his own. When the cleaning was not completed by the court-ordered deadline of Friday at 10 a.m., a private contractor hired by the city intervened.

Workers are going in and out of the house in hazmat suits and there is a tarp over the front door. They are hauling out piles of trash so they can clear pathways inside. Authorities said it might be awhile before they can start removing hundreds of birds from Skeberdis' house.

"Please understand that the interior conditions of this home do not warrant for easy capture of the birds," Aurora Deputy Fire Chief John Lehman said. "We must first attempt to make the environment safe, assess the current conditions, determine the number of birds left and then this is going to be an ongoing operation."

Skeberdis' home in the 200-block of Shadybrook Lane was filled with garbage and animal feces and unfit for human habitation, Aurora officials said.

The city estimates that Skeberdis has about 300 canaries, finches and parrots inside the home.

Skeberdis handed about a dozen birds over to authorities Friday morning but bird lovers might have a chance to adopt some of the birds.

"We have rented a shelter location in Villa Park where we will quarantine the birds for 30 to 60 days," Greater Chicago Caged Bird Club member Barbara Morris said. "Once that process is complete, then we will assess how we can start adopting out the birds."

Skeberdis has made peace with handing over his birds.

"I have already gotten over that," he said. "A week ago I was crying and every day I went in and fed them but then I realized I really care about them and I want them to have a better life."

Last week, authorities entered with a search warrant after a painter who worked outside the house reported seeing dead birds through the windows.

Aurora officials declared the property a nuisance and cited him with several code violations. Wednesday he was served with a court order informing him of the Friday cleanup deadline.

Skeberdis has said that he feels very badly about any inconvenience he has caused his neighbors.

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