I could go straight in and say forget it unless you have 1DMkIIN and EF500+ lens. But lets get real!
So here’s a few tips i’ve learnt:
1. First thing is to always up the ISO, a sharp and noisier image is better than a blurred clean one.
2. Considering the above look to achieve a shutter speed of 1/500sec or faster.
3. Add 1-2 stops to compensate for the sky, assuming your shooting into the sky.
4. Try and position yourself so the light is behind you, not against you, it will help with bird exposure.
5. Use centre point focus, you dont need 7 AF points to get focus lock and this makes the camera more responsive.
6. Switch on AI Servo (assuming your camera has it) and keep the bird centre frame. If not use manual and predict focus.
7. Use a monopod and perfect your pan technique so it becomes fluid, always continue to pan after firing the shutter.
8. Gently roll the shutter release rather than stab it.
9. Use manual focus to keep a slower lens from hunting and at the right end of the focal distance, then use AF button to nail it.
10. Practice, practice practise. Set up a bird feeder in your garden and shoot a few hundred frames. Try and predict flight patterns.
Optional – Switch CF 4 to use the * (back button), that way you can control focus better and its not tied into exposure/shutter release button.
I tend to work in aperture priority mode and use a wide aperture. >f5.6 and lenses >300mm
Hope this helps, comments and additional tips welcome.