Thanks for the knd comments, Rob and Penny.
Panning does take some practice and one of the best ways to get some is to focus on two of the most common birds around - seagulls and pigeons!
Start with the seagull. They're slow, so they are a lot easier to follow.
When you pan, the object of the exercise is to keep the eyes in the same spot within your viewfinder. It does take time - don't be discouraged!
Once you've mastered that, set your camera for Shutter Priority (S ot TV, depending on the camera) and start shooting. Gradually lower your shutter speed and shoot as you pan. You'll eventually get the bird and his eye in tack-sharp focus, with a smoothly blurred background. That's a win!
Then move on up to the pigeon. They're a LOT faster in flight, though they tend to travel in straight lines, so you'll have to work on keeping up with them.
If you want a real hard-core challenge, see if you can find some Tree Swallows. At 7 inches long and 45 MPH and with a tendancy towards instant and very sharp turns, they are among the hardest birds to follow - especially once you use lenses longer than about 300mm.
Keep practicing and I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised by what you can do!
All the best,
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