A retired military man turned professional photographer and published author? Meet Will Wilson, a Kigali-based British native, who recalls his first impression of Rwanda two years ago when he moved here—the beauty of the 250 different bird species that ‘call Kigali home’. ALSO READ: The birds that call Rwanda home Since then, he was determined to use his over 20 years of experience in the British Army—from shooting with a rifle to shooting with a camera—as he began touring the country to document his fascination with Rwanda’s birds. “I used to shoot moving targets, now I shoot birds in flight. The way I used to locate the enemy by shape, shadow, or silhouette movement, I now locate birds and wildlife in general in their best state,” he explained. ALSO READ: Falling for the birds of Kigali Wilson is now a published author, his book ‘Falling for the Birds of Kigali’, is a compilation of all the images he’s taken, after a while of befriending Rwandan guides, academics, and the Rwandan birding community in general, who would support him with the knowledge and names of all the different species. The 45-year-old officially launched his book on March 1, 2023, at the residence of the British High Commissioner, Omar Daair, in Kigali. ALSO READ: PHOTOS: Getting to know Rwanda’s birds – the kingfishers “My first impression of the birds of Kigali, if I’m honest, was a bit different from Will’s. I arrived in Kigali on the evening of June 20, 2021. We looked around this garden and thought, wow, big trees, beautiful. We figured we’d look at them the next morning, and since it was the weekend, we’d sleep in a little late. Just to be woken up at 5:30 in the morning, suddenly sitting straight up in bed thinking what on earth is happening outside? The birds were making such a racket,” the British High Commissioner shared. ALSO READ: Rwanda’s birds: Tweets and other vocalisations “But I have to say, my impression has changed over time. Not only because of their beauty and sound but also because of Will’s photography, which I think everyone will agree is incredible and does an excellent job of promoting how amazing wildlife and biodiversity here is,” he added. “I had no idea we had so many different kinds of birds, but Wilson has educated us all. This demonstrates the results of the Rwandan government’s efforts to be a champion in not only protecting the environment but also creating a home not only for the birds but also for the entire biodiversity,” commented the Mayor of Kigali, Pudence Rubingisa, who was also present at the event. ALSO READ: PHOTOS: Saving Rwanda’s grey-crowned cranes He also stated that the government intends to expand the deeds beyond Kigali, the capital city, and into secondary cities throughout the country. According to Wilson, the aim of the book was twofold; to photograph the birds of Kigali and highlight where he found them, by featuring a map where people can actually locate them. The second one was to highlight and promote the conservation and wetland restoration work being done in Rwanda’s capital city. ALSO READ: Birds of Rwanda: Dressed to impress! “I have two more books coming up. One is about bird behaviour; how they choose a mate, where and how they build a nest, how they communicate, how they fly, how they’ve evolved to fly, how some come to Kigali only for a short season but fly maybe 10,000 kilometres to get here,” he explained. ALSO READ: PHOTOS: Rwanda’s birds in flight The second one will be about Rwanda’s wildlife as a whole, but using conservation success. For example, the translocation of the white rhinos to the Akagera National Parks, the mountain gorilla population in Volcanoes National Park, the chimpanzee habituation in Nyungwe Forest, the reopening of a new national park in Gishwati, he added, saying, “I will tell all of these amazing stories, using the photographs and text in those books.” The book costs Rwf60, 000 and can be found at Ikirezi Library and the departure lounge at the Kigali International Airport.