The top of the line super compacts with the tiny lens can do almost anything to some extent and are in fact can be as good as an Entry level DSLR with the great 20x zoom capabilitis and some semi-manual controls and different point and shoot modes.
On the other hand I get by with a mid entry Sony a200 and a collection of old Minolta lensthat can get the job done using my
In regards to catching birds in stop action..there is a rule of thumb to at least match or surpass the reciprical of the max focal length..ie you are using a 300mm lens and it has been crop factored by 1.5x to be a true 450mm setting..therefore the closest setting would be at least 1/500 shutter speed..you could shoot the flyer using aperture prioity at say f8 (the sweet spot) and the iso set at maybe 400 to enable a faster speed and also have the metering and focus set on spot metering so the subject will be clear and the background blurred and smooth. All this is posible with enough lighting if you have a slow lens like3 f4.5-5.6.
Also you could put the camera on continuous shoot and set it at shutter prioity and set the shutter speed say try it at 1/500, 1/100 and set the iso 400-800 to get a true stop action as at least one of the pics will come out.
Below is a variety of pics taken ith different cameras and lens.
If a person was shooting birds close like hunting and with the right lighting conditions, you can get some decent shots with som decent equipment, having the art of composition is the fun part of shoting wild wterfowl.
Shot this from the hip on continuous shooting using a 300mm slow lens with low light. some blurring...lucky shot
shot from moving boat at quarter mile with medium fast lens program mode automatically set shutter speed
This was from a point and shoot super compact set on program mode..same shot would be also had on simple action mode without any complicated settings and a burst mode also
setting was on AE point and shoot auto and the shutter speed as too slow...blurred wings