Sheriff's detectives on Friday were investigating the theft of 50 parakeets from a Camarillo aviary.
Ralph Smith discovered the loss of his parakeets about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when he arrived to feed them at his property in the 4800 block of Pleasant Valley Road.
Smith found a large opening cut in the chain-link fence surrounding his property. The birds had been flying free inside of an 8-by-8-foot aviary, he said.
"Somebody wanted to sell some birds and make some bucks," he said.
Besides nabbing the yellow, blue, green and white birds, the thieves took eggs from nesting boxes and threw them on the ground. A dozen baby parakeets were left in a cage, but they died from lack of nourishment before being found. Four others are barely alive.
"It's a sin," said Smith, 55, who bought the birds about a year ago as a hobby and source of income when he retires. Smith also raises orchids in a green house on the property.
Sheriff's Sgt. Keith Lazz said investigators have no suspects. Light footprints from a sneaker were found, along with some tire tracks.
Smith, who lives in Ventura, said it was the second time he has been burglarized. Last March, someone stole $20,000 worth of tools from his Camarillo property.
"You can't have anything nice anymore," he said.