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Well, best to get some basics on how to set up your camera. I do not know all the settings on so many different bodies now being made, and all the different manufactures. I can only generalize. The main settings you need to work with are the AF (auto focus).
Years ago, it would take tremendous talent to catch a good BIF (bird in flight), trying to keep up with a bird flying and no auto focus!! I can't imagine. Since we now have amazing auto focus on all DSLR's, we can track some of the fastest flying birds with some practise.
I set my main AF switch located out side my camera to AFC, which means it is programed to look for and follow continuously moving subjects. Next, for most BIF shooting, I like to use the single sensor, and leave it in the center of the frame.
The 9, 21, 24, 52, point systems are good for birds against a clean background, like a blue sky. But for busier backgrounds , you need to lock on the subject only with single sensor.. such as on the top of the water when a bird is flying by, multi-sensors will pick up on the harsh contrast of the ripples.
My camera also has a feature that controls how long the AF locks onto a subject, in case another object comes into the focus and creates a distraction to the sensors.. AF Lock is set to "short".
Most long lenses have a "limiter" switch, which controls the distance range the lens will search during an attempt to get a lock on your subject. You need to block out any close ranges for the lens, and allow it to concentrate on focusing on only distant subjects.
More tips coming in Part 3, sometime next week.