Aurora bird hoarder speaks about investigation - FOX 32 News Chicago

Aurora bird hoarder speaks about investigation

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The man at the heart of a bird hoarding investigation is speaking out, explaining why he started collecting birds and how he ended up with about 100 of them in his town home.

SEE: Hundreds of birds, dead and alive, found in Aurora hoarder's home

On Monday, officials in Aurora were supposed to return to the home to begin cleanup and rescue efforts, but air quality test results had not come back, so for health and safety reasons, animal control and building department crews were not able to go in.

The owner, however, was home.

Bird owner David Skeberdis showed FOX Chicago News the hazmat suit the city of Aurora gave him, along with a breathing mask and other protective gear, but he didn't plan to use them since he's used to what's inside.

"The birds need to be fed, so I'm going inside and feeding them," Skeberdis said.

The 57-year-old computer tech estimates he has 80 to 100 birds.

"It was all right when I had a few, but now, they've torn the place apart," Skeberdis said.

He gave FOX Chicago a peek at the ones in his basement, calling to a favorite bird by name.

Skeberdis says his self-described "pack rat" obsession started seven years ago after his mother and several other family members died within about a year.

"I don't drink, I don't smoke so I acquire things…the birds got out of hand, but I'll tell you the parakeets breed like mice," he says.

On his front porch are the bags of debris that building and animal control workers had to clear out just so they could get inside to investigate the situation, and take air quality samples. An Aurora spokesman says there is no plan yet for how to proceed with the cleanup and bird rescue.

"Yes it got out of hand, but that's the whole thing that's nice about Aurora that they're taking an attitude that they want to help me, they don't want to judge me, they just want to help me get out of this mess…and it is a mess, it is an obsession," Skeberdis said.

Skeberdis did not want to show us inside his home, but his garage was packed with stuff piled around a car. He plans to give away or throw out a lot of items and has taken two weeks off work to go through it all.

Skeberdis told FOX Chicago this was "an awakening" and called the incident a "chance to start over." He hasn't yet made a decision about keeping the birds.

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