Thanks Dennis, I appreciate the compliment.
Thanks Julie, the backgrounds on the ones I worked with were a solid ugly light grey tone so it was easy to do a magic wand selection of it. I then used the flood fill with a starburst effect on the selected area. I then chose colors that I wanted to work with from the bird's colorations using the eyedropper tool and worked with them using the airbrush at extremely low opacity, almost transparent, so that the blending would look as natural as possible. I made sure that the colors I chose for the light area of the background were in the right location and the dark areas being behind the bird where they should be artistically. Since red is a very attracting color I decided to place some red blurs in the lower background of the top photo to attract attention. I've actually seen this effect in real backgrounds so decided to try to emulate it and was relatively successful as it appears to be a very blurred flower cluster which is exactly what I wanted. The slight touch of green in the same work was applied for the same sort of reason. Sides of any hard blocked edges, such as the sides of the branches,were blurred out at a radius of .70 Gaussian Blur in my PSP program.
The blue sky for the robin was done in a similar way but in order to have sharpening control over the robin I selected tbe grey area, inverted the selection, and modified the selection with a contraction of 1 or 2 pixels. That way I could sharpen only the bird, leaving a slight blur on the edge that made it appear natural.
That's about all. Hope it helps some.