The steps of bird photography are:
1. Locate bird.
2. Attempt to locate bird again through your heavy and extremely unwieldy lens. If the bird is gone by the time you manage to find the place where it was just a few seconds ago, return to Step 1.
4. No, focus on the bird, not on the branch in front of the bird or the leaves behind the bird. If the bird departs before you manage to see it clearly, return to step 1.
And even if you make it to Step 5, you're still likely to end up with this. That cardinal was sitting in the patch of sunlight on that branch through Steps 1-4, then took off before I managed to get to 5.