I decided to stick with the totally random scrappiness for the next bird, the swift, and I think it looks ok:
It’s funny, as I was choosing which bundle of fabric to use for it, I found myself reasoning that I should use the bundles with the smallest number of fabrics in them for these simpler birds, and save the ones with lots of different fabrics for the more complicated ones, because I’d need more for them so they didn’t end up with the same fabrics next to each other too often. And then of course my mathematical brain woke up and reminded me that I was being ridiculous, because the four colour theorem says that any two dimensional pattern can always be coloured in using at most four colours without having two adjacent areas the same colour. So as long as I’ve got four different fabrics in each bundle (which I do for all but the one I used to make the swan block, which only had three fabrics) then I’ve definitely got enough for even the most complicated pattern.
Of course, it does still make some sense to reserve the big bundles for the really complex birds, because having more pieces will make using lots of different fabrics look better (because I won’t have to resort to just using a single piece of a particular fabric), but in theory at least it doesn’t matter.
I’m sorry, I can’t help being a geek. This kind of stuff just leaps into my brain unasked.