I curse myself almost every day I decide to shoot birds! I tell my wife the same things you mention. "Look at this, honey! How the hell does he do it?"
If it makes you feel any better I have flirted with birding as well. Below is an example of a great situation where 2 birds were on the opposite bank of a lake but would not turn round to face me and of course they flew away. I even started to make funny noises to see if they would look at me.