It's not the lens a birding specialist would choose, but the 70-300VR fits my needs for a general purpose telephoto... lots of reach, hand holdable, contrasty, sharp, and affordable. I particularly like it for hummingbird pictures. A very assertive male Anna's Hummingbird has claimed my backyard feeder, and buzzes any creature, bird or human, that intrudes on his territory. The click of a shutter and blast of light from a flash don't faze him at all. I grabbed a few shots this evening in return for a few ounces of sugar water.