You're not going to want to hear this, perhaps, but if you want stellar pictures (of birds or anything else), nothing is going to work better than M mode (manual). Please don't kill the messenger! :)
When I first started out with DSLR, I relied heavily on my camera's automodes and shift/priority-modes (the ones where only one variable shifts--whether shutter speed or aperture). I got plenty of very good "keeper" pics this way, but since "going manual" (as they say), my keeper rate has increased a lot. It's a matter of you taking control of your camera rather than the other way around, and once you start practicing it, it VERY QUICKLY becomes just as second-nature and just as easy as using an auto-mode---I swear! At first I had to be convinced of this by the folks at Photography on the Net; now I'm a true believer.
When I first arrive at the spot where I'm birding---before I even look for my first bird---here's my setup routine (takes about 15 seconds).
The first thing I do is gauge the light conditions and set my ISO. If it's morning or late-afternoon (usually the best times for photography and birding), I'll probably select ISO 400, but if it's overcast, perhaps 640 or 800. Higher ISOs (--my camera goes up to 6400--) are good for dawn/dusk or foresty settings, but of course you begin to sacrifice image quality to graininess. In bright conditions I'll occasionally go to ISO 100 or 200. As I wander around an area, I'll constantly reevaluate the light conditions and adjust the ISO as needed. When in doubt, 400 is a good choice, but it's not an all-purpose ISO.
The principal variable has to be shutter speed. I find a good rule of thumb is that your minimum shutter speed should be 1/twice the focal length of your lens. (Other people will give you different advice, but this is what works for me.) Since my go-to lens is 400mm and since you have to magnify that number by the crop-factor of your camera (mine is 1.3x, yours is 1.6x), I shoot at a minimum of 1/1000, usually closer to 1/1600 if possible. This pretty much eliminates blurriness due to camera-shake and is fast enough to capture not only still subjects but also birds in flight. If you're using a zoom-lens rather than a prime, you can adjust shutter speed as your focal length changes, or just err on the side of keeping your speed suitable for your maximum zoom length, since that's likely to be where you do most of your shooting. If you're using a lens with image stabilization, you can go a tad slower, but for birds-in-flight photography, it's probably best to disable IS (though here too, some will disagree). If you're on a sturdy tripod, of course, you can go way slower (and again you'll need to disable IS), but most people i know don't schlep a tripod on birding hikes.
Once you've got your shutter speed selected to your minimum, find a large frame-filling object that's about the same brightness as a bird---a tree-trunk is usually a good bet. Point your camera at that object so that it fills the entire frame and check your exposure reading in the viewfinder. Then adjust the aperture until you're where you want to be for a proper exposure.
(INTERLUDE: In the auto and shift-modes, your camera will make some assumptions about how bright the picture should be, usually based on an averaged reading across the entire image; if you've got a small dark bird against a large bright sky, the camera is going to err on the side of toning down the sky, leading to a badly underexposed bird---this is the big reason for why you want to take control of your camera! Even with a center-point metering system, the camera's never going to be smarter than YOU.)
If you find that even with your maximum aperture, you still can't get a bright enough exposure, then bump up the ISO until you can---don't reduce the shutter speed! You'd rather have a slightly grainy (high ISO) but sharp picture than one that's blurry because the shutter was too slow. If you've got plenty of aperture-range to spare, then you can make some choices---do you want a wide-open aperture that will blur the background a little and isolate your birds from their surroundings? In that case, keep the aperture wide (the smallest number) and increase the shutter speed. Do you want lots of depth of field so that the bird and the foreground and the background are all in sharp focus? Then keep your shutter speed at the minimum and close down the aperture (larger numbers) until you've got a proper exposure level.
Now you've got it. You can pretty much keep the shutter speed and aperture settings where they are, and adjust ISO as lighting conditions change. When you're actually snapping a picture, don't worry if the camera's meter indicates that you're over-exposing a shot, especially if the shot is of a bird against a bright background. Remember, the camera's looking at the whole picture and trying to average things out, but you want to expose for the bird! (The camera can't know that.) Experiment a little with alternate settings, but I pretty much guarantee that if you follow these guidelines, you'll be satisfied with a lot of your pics. There are other factors, naturally---a bright white egret is going to photography differently than a dark raven, but these settings will serve you well for almost all situations. Another good tip I've learned to follow is that it's always better to err on the side of overexposing a shot (they call it "exposing to the right") rather than underexposing it. You can always darken a bright shot in post without losing much detail in the process, but lightening a dark shot has a tendency to introduce noise and other ugly anomalies.
The other big question is about autofocus. I too use a small center-point---that's the best for birding, I think. I usually keep my focus set to AI Servo, since that can work for both still and moving subjects (and with birds, of course, still subjects can quickly and unpredictably become moving subjects!). If I sense that I've got a reliably still subject (a perched bird protecting a nest or a fishing heron, perhaps), I will often switch to One-Shot mode since I feel it gives me a little more control over framing a shot. (You can focus on the bird, and then---keeping the shutter button halfway pressed---re-compose the shot as you wish; the focus will remain on the bird.) When using One-Shot mode, many pros will advise a two-press focus acquisition. In other words, press the shutter-button halfway to achieve autofocus on your subject. Then, keeping the camera pointed at the bird, let go of the shutter button and press it halfway again to let it autofocus a second time---supposedly this second focus makes for greater accuracy. I don't know if I've ever been able to tell the difference, but I do it anyway if the situation permits---I mean, why not?
Hope this helps!