Tip 1: You'll need a telephoto zoom (300-400mm) for capturing frame-filling shots and a tripod is essential. If you have one, fasten on your ball-head but it's not essential.
Tip 2: Know your equipment well before heading outside as you don't want to be searching for buttons and messing around with settings when you only have seconds to take a shot.
Tip 3: You will need to be quite close to the birds even if you are using a lens with plenty of reach as they are really tiny things and can be easily lost in your background.
Tip 4: Make sure you hide out of sight in either a purpose built hide or try shooting from your house or from an out building such as a shed.
Tip 5: Make sure you have feeders out, particularly at this time of year when food's a little scarce. This will encourage birds to regularly visit your garden for food.
Tip 6: Place feeders in areas where branches or even ready-made perches you want them to land on are positioned. That way they'll, hopefully, land on the branch in front of your chosen background before going for the food.
Tip 7: Change the style of perch you're using to bring a bit of variety to your shots after a while.
Tip 8: Hedges make great natural looking backgrounds but don't let the scenery overshadow your subject. For those with fences and walls rather than hedgerows try collecting a few sheets of material that can help disguise it.
Tip 9: Pay attention to the tips of tail feathers as these can become out of focus.
Tip 10: Don't be too eager to hit the shutter button the second a bird lands as they're nervous creatures and it may take them a while to become comfortable with their surroundings.
Image by John Gravett - www.lakelandphotohols.com