A couple of weeks ago I saw this immature Barn Swallow sitting on a rock waiting for one of its parents to feed it. I setup the camera and waited for the parent to return. As I waited I had time to take a couple of shots to check the histogram to make sure the exposure was correct. Ideally you want to have the curve as far to the right as possible without touching the right y axis. If the curve overflows the right y axis you will have blown highlights. A curve too far to the left indicates an under exposed image.
Because the baby swallow was not moving around I was able to focus using autofocus and then switch to manual focus. By doing this I could then stand comfortably without looking through the viewfinder as I waited for the parent to return. When I saw the parent approach I then just held down the shutter button and took a sequence of photos of the feeding.