Here is my own little collection of ceramic pie birds. They are also called pie funnels, ventilators, or chimneys. Those of you who are familiar with them know that they are placed in the center of the pie shell, the filling is spooned in around it and the top crust is cut to fit over the bird in the center. I use my plain white one all the time and it works very well, letting the steam out and reducing the chances of the pie filling spilling out over the edges.
The one on the left is of two blackbirds on a log, unusual to find, made in Japan ca. 1950’s. The single black bird is made in England and designed by Clarice Cliff, hand painted and bearing a registration number. The bird with the blue wings is made by Phaltzgraff, is signed and looks handpainted as well, a more recent vintage. The plain white one is probably a newer import maybe from China. The tall one with the pink base is by Shawnee Pottery, ca 1940’s or 50’s, and the elephant is from Nutbrown, made in England, more likely from the 50’s or 60’s.
There are often pie birds for sale at the antique markets, so if you are a collector, it’s best to check out these places frequently as the rarer ones are always snapped up quickly.
Prices for these range from $8 for the simple white ones to $25 and over for the more colourful and collectible ones.