Yes there was. It was part of the short-lived Klingon/Romulan alliance depicted in the TOS episode "The Enterprise Incident" where the Klingons supplied Romulans with more modern types of propulsion compared to the old impulse drive seen in "Balance of Terror" as well as ships and the Romulans paid them back with cloaking technology, which until that point, Klingons did not have.
I cant remember where I read it, and I can't even find it on Memory Alpha...
But it goes about how Romulans way back in the day were toying around with a cloaking device for a ship. When the Klingons got ahold of this information, they were able to steal/trade a ship from the Romulans.
Through reverse engineering, the Klingons were then able to make fleets of Bird-of-Prey's of the same design, and the name was just kept the same (different classifications, of course).
Whether that's true or not, its a liable back story =P