My name is Sam Gibbs, I am an English guy who lives in the Netherlands. My ring number is BVA2500.
I am a huge fan of the genus Agapornis, commonly known as Lovebirds. My ultimate passion is currently with the Agapornis personatus.
So where did it all start? ...
How I began with birds
It started a long time ago when I was younger. My grandparents kept Agapornis roseicollis (Peachfaced Lovebirds). Just like many other hobbyists, they started with one tame pair and it progressed from there. As well as numerous tame birds inside, they had a large wooden aviary outside with a night shelter and around 8 pairs of birds. I never forgot these birds and was always fascinated by them.
Many years later I find myself persuading my wife to let me get a lovebird. It all began with a blue personatus called Zippy. She was a lovely bird, and was very tame. A short period later and I got her a friend, a SF violet blue personatus called Ozzy, he was silly tame and stayed tame until he sadly passed away in 2010. He would fly to me when I called him, step onto my finger, give me high-five and allow me to scratch him. I've never known a bird with such a character! Time passed by and they eventually started making their own family. I decided to keep the first youngster and get her a partner ... naturally things progressed from there and I guess the rest is history!
Genetics and mutations
I am fascinated about genetics and mutations. I never thought this would be something that interests me, but it does. I'm gripped and intrigued by the science behind the vast array of colours we see in these little birds. It started when I was expecting my first ever clutch of chicks. I wanted to know what mutations I could expect but then I needed to know how to work it out myself. I spent years trawling through endless articles and discussions on the internet, absorbing every last bit of information I could find. The majority of it I had to translate as it was in Dutch.
I quickly learnt about the BVA (Belgische Vereniging Agaporniden / Belgian Lovebird Society) and I didn't hesitate to join. Now I'm not a book reader, in fact I would go as far as saying I hated reading books. However, I read the 'Lovebirds Owners Manual and Reference Guide' by Dirk Van den Abeele from cover-to-cover ... about 20 times! It wasn't easy making sense of everything I read, but I was drawn to it. I kept persevering until it finally began to make sense. I attended seminars/talks/events whenever possible and always eagerly awaited for new articles to be published by several sources, especially MUTAVI and Ornitho-Genetics. I genuinely lost count of the hours I spent on the internet fueling my desire to learn, rummaging through the conversations on the Genetics Psittacine discussion group and the BVA discussion group.
The BVA is a fantastic club for breeders and keepers of Agapornis and they have affiliated clubs across the world.
See here: https://www.agapornidenclub.be/eng/?page_id=312
I attend all the BVA events, regretfully missing only a handful. Sales days, Aga-days and of course their infamous exhibition - The BVA Masters. I try and help the BVA out whenever I can, during the exhibition, bit of work on the website and proof reading the bi-lingual magazine, Agapornis info. This is just my way of giving a little back to a club that has done so much for the hobby.
In early 2015 I took the 5 day course by Dirk Van den Abeele @ Ornitho-Genetics. The course literally covered everything, over 5 full days. All the mutations were discussed in depth, along with taxonomy, history, international agreements and genetic formulas ... the list goes on.
After the 5 course days you are given the option to take an examination. The exam consisted of various questions and identifying the species/mutation of around 30 birds. Those who pass with over 70% then qualify for the course to become a BVA Judge. I managed to pass the course and then I went on to pass the judges course and became a BVA Judge.
Since becoming a judge I have judged several shows across the world. It's a great experience, not only the judging but also experiencing the cultural difference of the people and the hobby. I have given various presentations and lectures during some of the shows too. From A.personatus mutations to selectively breeding A.roseicollis.
That's pretty much it! Everything about me and my hobby from when it all began to the current day!
Check out my Facebook page which I update on a regular basis
I also upload videos to my YouTube channel, check them out
If you ever want to come and visit me and my birds, feel free to get in touch with me. The coffee is already ready!