What started with a parakeet named "Doc" turned into a full-blown obsession for an Aurora man who admitted to being a hoarder after police found hundreds of birds living in his home last week.
Dave Skeberdis, 57, told the Aurora Beacon-News during a Monday visit to feed the birds still living in his now condemned home that he let things get out of hand after rescuing "Doc" seven years ago.
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"I did let the birds multiply," Skeberdis told the newspaper. "I admit, I was obsessed. But I'm a regular person."
Police and city inspectors who turned up at his door Friday after receiving a tip from a painting contractor found his home littered with garbage and bird feces. The city deemed the home unfit for habitation, but thus far, no code violations or charges have been filed.
Animal control is hoping the Greater Chicago Caged Bird Club will be able to take care of the birds, which include many finches, canaries and of course parakeets, which "multiply like mice," according to Skeberdis. He estimates he had 200 birds living in the home, including some he bought or took in. He said the birds would go through two or three 50-pound bags of feed per week, and that when some of the birds were small they slept with him.
Skeberdis, who was given a hazmat suit and mask by cleanup crews, said he plans to spend the next two weeks cleaning. He said his bird collecting obsession went too far, and admits he is a "hoarder."
"I think it's time for a change in my life," he said.