A few hundred birds found crowded into an Aurora man's trash-filled townhouse now are ready to be adopted.
The Greater Chicago Cage Bird Club began finding new homes for about 400 birds Tuesday morning, the majority of them removed in October from 57-year-old David Skeberdis' Aurora residence.
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"Our main concern is finding the birds a good, healthy home to transition into," club President Barbara Morris said.
Anyone wanting to provide such a home can stop by the club's temporary shelter at 15 E. Park Blvd. in Villa Park to fill out an adoption application. Previous bird ownership is not necessary, and Morris said the club will provide information about proper care, feeding and cages to those who are inexperienced.
The birds, including parakeets, cockatiels and conures, were cleared for adoption by veterinarian Peter Sakas of Niles Animal Hospital & Bird Medical Center, who evaluated the animals found in Skeberdis' home for injuries and contagious diseases.
"Considering the number of these birds, they're really in good condition," Sakas said. "They're in perfect condition to be adopted out."
Adoptions are beginning after a 30-day quarantine period necessary to prevent infections even though the birds were deemed healthy, Sakas said. The shelter will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays or by appointment by calling (630) 640-4924.
The club began caring for 358 birds found in Skeberdis' home on Oct. 26. Adding to the nearly 400 available for adoption are about 15 birds from an animal hoarding case in McHenry County and several more from a breeder who became too sick to continue caring for her birds.
By Tuesday afternoon, 25 birds already had found new owners. Among the owners was Ernest Ferguson of Bensenville, a private breeder who left with two cockatiels he will care for and use for his business.
Ferguson said he was "almost in tears" when he heard the story of 478 birds -- 120 of them dead -- being found in Skeberdis' townhouse.
"I couldn't believe there were so many," Ferguson said.
The Greater Chicago Cage Bird Club is limiting the number of birds each person can adopt to four parakeets, or one cockatiel and two parakeets, or two cockatiels, or one larger bird. Adoption by non-club members comes with a fee ranging from $10 for a parakeet, finch or quail to $300 for a macaw.
"We're certainly going to make sure we avoid any future hoarding situations," Morris said.
As club members began finding new homes for the birds Tuesday, Skeberdis was in DuPage County court pleading not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of companion animal hoarding.
If convicted, he could face a $1,500 fine and court supervision or up to six months in jail. His next court date is Jan. 29.
Prosecutors sought a court order Tuesday barring Skeberdis from having pets, but Judge Bruce Kelsey denied it.
Twice since Skeberdis was charged, Aurora officials have received information indicating he has birds at the condemned townhouse on the 200 block of Shadybrook Lane. On a follow-up visit, authorities removed about a dozen additional birds, prosecutors said, but Skeberdis has continued to visit an animal sanctuary and has told people there he still has more birds.
Aurora officials wouldn't release additional details.