It sounds like he took the Animal Master theme.
That would allow him to get the bird minion at level 1, while still leaving his level 1 feat open for the cleric multiclass feat.
The animal minions from this theme are relatively similar to familiars. They provide a passive bonus, but cannot enter "active" mode the way familiars can; instead, they provide their master an encounter power called Distracting Attack, which essentially represents the animal minion darting in and harassing a target.
From the Animal Master theme in Dragon399:
Animal Minions in Combat
Your animal minion normally stays out of the way in combat, waiting by the outskirts of the fighting. You can direct it to help you by using distracting attack. If you’re not using your animal minion to harass a foe, you can assume that your pet is safely out of harm’s way and won’t attract any enemy attention. Distracting attack doesn’t normally provoke a response against your animal, since it moves in and out of the thick of the fighting quickly. At the DM’s discretion, an animal minion can act independently; for example, if you are incapacitated, your minion might run off to bring help back to you.
Replacing Animal Minions
Until you reach 5th level, if your animal minion is killed, you can replace it after the end of your current adventure or one week, whichever comes first.
Animal Master Starting Feature (1st level): Choose one of the five animals described below—cat, dog, hawk, monkey, or raven—to be your animal minion. This creature accompanies you for as long as it lives. The animal doesn't have a normal complement of actions, but it can take a move action when you take one. If it has a power, it can use it only on your turn. (With your DM’s consent, you can substitute any similar creature for these choices; for example, an otter would be much like a cat with a skill bonus for swimming instead of climbing and jumping, and a badger is pretty close to a small dog in size and abilities.) In addition, you gain the distracting attack power.