My family and I arrived in Kigali during the Covid-19 pandemic. My first welcome to Kigali came from the birds that woke me up each morning with their beautiful birdsong, and those which visited our garden throughout the day. As lockdown lifted and I ventured out into the city, I had the pleasure of meeting some of the 250 different species which call Kigali home. These birds, which form part of Rwanda’s bird population that at last count stands at more than 700 species, first sparked my interest to document them. ALSO READ: Rwanda’s birds: Finding the energy to fly I owe a big thank you to the Rwandan guides, academics, and the online Rwandan birding community for all their patience and continued support as I got to grips with all the names of the different species. I posted my photographs on social media and after a while, I started to receive ‘nudges’ from other users asking me to consolidate my images into a single body of work — the idea of writing a book was born. The project has allowed me to travel throughout Kigali. It has brought me in contact with some amazing Rwandan organisations and people working tirelessly to conserve and restore the city’s rich biodiversity. One such example includes the ongoing efforts by the Rwandan government and the City of Kigali to restore the capital’s wetland areas. They are both bold and impressive, as are the initial results – Nyandungu Eco-Park. The restoration of such habitats enables nature to reset and wildlife to thrive and helps mitigate the risk of flooding by managing the flow of rain running off surrounding hills. Moreover, the wetland plants that are now able to flourish help to moderate the effects of climate change through carbon capture and provide a welcoming habitat for our feathered friends. ALSO READ: The birds that call Rwanda home Another such example is the impressive conservation efforts of the Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association to stop the illegal trade of Grey Crowned Cranes. For the first time in a decade, these beautiful birds number more than 1,000. The rich diversity of birds in Kigali is dependent on the presence of the remaining native trees and vegetation across the city. Maintaining these areas of native biodiversity as the city develops is vital for the survival of many bird species seen today. The bold type of certain words in the title of the book (and this article) highlights that it’s not only the birds I have fallen for... I had three aims whilst writing ‘Falling for the Birds of Kigali’. The first was to showcase the beautiful birds that call Kigali home and document where I had managed to spot them — so others could find them too. Second, to highlight some of the impressive conservation and wetland restoration work being done in Rwanda’s capital. My third aim was to promote Kigali as a bird-watching destination in its own right. The hills, rivers, wetlands, and urban areas of the capital make it an amazing place to watch and photograph birds in lots of exciting and different environments. Umusambi Village, Nyandungu Eco-Park, and Nyarutarama Lake are just three examples of such environments. ALSO READ: Birds of Rwanda: Dressed to impress! The result is a 256-page coffee table photography book that documents more than 130 different birds that can be found in Kigali and is now available to buy in shops across Kigali and buy online at: https://komezart.com/products/falling-for-the-birds-of-kigali.