While most would probably just remove a tree once it starts to rot, one Oak Park couple took a different route.

Retirees John and Peg Puccini hired someone to cut down the dead horse chestnut in their side yard earlier this month. But rather than leveling the whole thing, the tree trimmer left a 16-foot-tall stump to be fashioned into a sculpture.

The Puccinis then hired Homer Glen-based Northern Exposure to transform the stump into a group of three perched eagles. The couple glanced at woodcarving artist Scott Cochrane’s portfolio and settled on that design instead of a bear.

“I didn’t want anything that would scare kids,” said Peg Puccini, 67.

The Puccinis consider themselves art collectors, and had previously used Northern Exposure to carve another dead tree into a crane. They plan on applying a sealant to the new sculpture every year or so to prolong its life (the crane lasted a decade without sealant).

Neighbors occasionally walk by and curiously gawk at the eagle sculpture. One little girl didn’t realize they were fake.

“She came by and said, ‘What will you do when one flies away?'” Peg Puccini said. “I said ‘It’s not equipped to fly.'”

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