I was inspired by the sunshine and this little chirping cardinal to get outside and shoot me some birds. I crept down the driveway with my 300mm to nab the shot below then remembered a little thing called "trap focus".
Trap focus is when you set up your camera in such a way that you trick it into becoming a motion sensor. There's a different combination of settings for every camera but most DSLRs should be able to do it (google it), all you need is a tripod, a cable release, and patience. Set your focus on a branch that a bird is likely to land on (two words: peanut butter) then move that focus point into the (out of focus) area where your bird will be. Set your shutter to rapid fire, lock your cable release, vacate the area and make a mojito (ohh, I can't wait for summer). When a bird decides to land in the focus area the autofocus recognizes the in focus bird and fires away. Shazam!
It becomes harder when you have only a single bird in your yard and you scared him away when you set up your camera. Alas, no captures to prove this technique works but trust me, I've done it before. An active nest in late afternoon is almost a sure thing or you could just get a birdfeeder.