I wouldn't bash VR "because you have to use a tripod". That's true but not always. For example at airshows, or when sufficiently near the plane so that a tripod is not an option, VR still has it's reason to be there. Moreover, if somebody is not a pro, quite probably will have to use the same lens for several uses, not only "aluminum birding" :-) so VR still comes handy.
I don't own a long lens yet, but I studied the question since long:
1) the 55-200VR is the cheapest option
2) the new 55-300VR looks good, however beware in that these cheap lenses have a rotating front element (when you focus, the front element rotates) so this makes the use of a polarizer a bit tricky.
3) a lot of people agree that the 70-300VR is a very good lens, quite sharp, with non rotating front element.
4) The 80-400 is very near to the end of it's life cycle. The actual model won't focus on your D5000 because it is not AF-S. It's a matter of months for the AF-S version to come out.
5) the fixed 300 f/4 is superbly sharp, but lacks VR and is a fixed focal length.
6) Sigma has a lot of alternatives, however, from what I read around, I would only rely on "EX" series, like the 100-300 f/4. Sigma is currently adding the stabilizer to a lot of its lenses, so I expect the 100-300 to be stabilized soon. OTOH, I read mixed results with the 120-400 and 150-500 non EX: some people claim limited sharpness and slow focusing.
In conclusion: if you are in a hurry and don't want to spend too much, then the 70-300VR is the best choice. If you want to spend a bit more, (but still less than 2000$/€), I'd suggest you to wait a bit because the market is moving right now: I expect both Nikon and Sigma to come out with improved versions of their lenses.