Karla Menaugh and I made a picture file of birds for our book Juniper & Mistletoe, which was really about trees, but we found several great birds in the trees.
Birds don't take much in the way of applique as in this border from a quilt dated 1842
Here's a minimalistic bird from a top about 1900
And a worn border from a mid-19th-century quilt
Birds often appeared in blocks
Especially in samplers
Scale seems to be a problem in this sampler with a giant bird in the bottom row.
Here's a lovely crib quilt with a variety of birds and bugs from an online auction.
See more by clicking on these links.
From the Quilt Index, New Jersey, probably from the 1860s, a sampler with some strange blocks and two bird blocks
Another Quilt Index photo, this one from the Connecticut Quilt Project, with some long-beaked birds towards the bottom
An Irish Chain with birds in the alternate blocks
From the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, a fairly recent quilt by Sarah Mary Taylor, #2005.060.0001
Dealer Stella Rubin has an unusual 19th century example
And for more about our book Juniper & Mistletoe click here