Birds Quarreling is a realistic representation of the snowy owl doing battle with the crow. The inspiration for this image may be a traditional legend recorded in Franz Boas' The Central Eskimo, published in 1888. Faithful friends, the owl and the crow one day decide to make clothes for one another. The crow creates a black-and-white-speckled robe for the owl. In exchange, the owl makes the crow a pair of whalebone boots and a white robe. When it is time to try on their new finery, the crow won't stay still, despite the admonitions of the owl, and is splashed by the oil in the lamp nearby. From that day on, he has been completely black.