BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
On Dec. 2, 460th Space Wing members came together to move Lucy, a preserved 11-year-old female bald eagle from the 140th Wing, Colorado Air National Guard, headquarters lobby to the lobby of the 460th SW headquarters.
Approximately 15 years ago, when Buckley was still a National Guard Base, John Spann, 460th SW Public Affairs chief, received a call from base security forces.
"They found a bald eagle that had landed on the power lines and was electrocuted after hitting two lines," he said.
Spann arrived on scene and gathered the 15-pound bird in a box to hand her over to a base environmental representative since she could not be disposed of, or even kept without permit. At the time, the bald eagle was protected under the Endangered Species Act.
"[We] called the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service," said Spann. "They said if we were willing to have her preserved, they would give us the permit to publicly display her at Buckley. The 140th Wing took it on as a project for their new headquarters lobby. The 140th Civil Engineer carpenter shop built the case that she is displayed in."
Kim O'Brien, 460th Civil Engineer Squadron Structures and Heavy Equipment superintendant, found it a challenge to build a case for the display.
"After getting insight from the Denver Museum of natural History," said O'Brien, "the case had to be airtight."
Tempered glass was used to keep the display clear. The heavy safety glass would prevent shards from falling on Lucy should something happen to the case. Due to the weight of the glass, O'Brien fashioned a wood stand for the encased bird.
"I was thrilled," continued O'Brien. "It was enjoyable to work with something that different."
Even though the bald eagle was taken off of the list of endangered species in 2007, bald eagles are still protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, under provisions of both acts, there are criminal penalties to possess and display any remains of bald eagles without permit, to include even eagle feathers. All permits are applied for, so such displays of the bird are rare, save museums.
"It's very restrictive on how you can handle the remains or display a bald eagle," said Spann. "It's an honor for Buckley to preserve a part of our heritage, a symbol of our country."
Lucy has changed hands from the 140th Wing to the 460th Space Wing due to renovations. As a result of her being placed in the headquarters of the host unit, she will be more accessible to public viewing during base tours.
No one knows who named Lucy.
To see live feeds of nesting eagle pairs, go to http://birdcam.xcelenergy.com/eagle.html