Recognized animal caregiver: Local resident caring for all living creatures

By: Donna Namaypoke

On Saturday December 8, 2018, just before 11:00 am, my mother phoned me to tell

photo video credit melissa
Jyles Copenace prepares to capture the snowy owl (Photo credit: Isaac Kavanaugh)

me that she’s over by the garbage can in the west end so naturally my reply is “oh”.  She then proceeded to tell me that she was driving and Brian Copenace, who was sanding our roads at the time, stopped her and pointed towards the garbage can and that’s when my mother saw a beautiful snowy owl sitting in the middle of the road.

“I think it’s injured and there are a couple of ravens bothering it,” she said, asking what could be done. So I messaged Jyles Copenace to see if he was in the community and could go and check on it.

She said she would stay there and wait. I immediately messaged Jyles, who was pretty quick to respond and say he would be right over.

About an hour and a half  later, Jyles messaged me and told me he got the owl and that it was  malnourished but should be fine. He thanked me for calling on him and asking for his assistance. Meanwhile I’m thinking, “Who else would I call” but replied with, “No problem”.

You see, this past summer my mother-in-law called and said there is an injured eagle over by her place. After exchanging a conversation regarding the eagle, we hung up and I continued on with my day at home. About two hours later, she called again and said that eagle had moved.

Sure enough there was this beautiful golden eagle sitting in the tall grass. I tried to go close to it just to see if I could force it to fly away, but it didn’t. Instead it flapped its wings and hopped further way.

Not wanting to stress it out, I backed away. I decided to call the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). The man on the phone  replied that at the moment they didn’t have the manpower to deal with injured animals and that there were many wildfires in the region. He did give me the name of a woman and a phone number, which I called and left a voicemail.

After waiting and hoping that the lady would call, I decided to call the MNRF again. This time a man asked me where in Ontario.  “Whitefish Bay right by Sioux Narrows,” I said.

“Isn’t there a guy there that helps out injured birds?” he said.  I asked him if he was referring to Jyles Copenance and he agreed.  

I said I would see if he was in the community as it was pow wow season, and usually he and his family are traveling, but luckily he wasn’t. Jyles said he would be over as soon as they are done eating. I told him that we would  wait there with the eagle until he arrived.

He and his family arrived within a half hour and right away he said that it was not a golden eagle, but a young bald eagle! He explained to us that the birds look like golden eagles when they are young and that the feathers change.I had no idea that he knew so much about them.

Jyles and his son decided that his son would walk to the left of the eagle while Jyles went to the right and whichever way the owl would move, then the closest one would throw a blanket on him.

It was all very interesting to watch, especially how efficient they were, like it was an everyday thing.  I asked him a week later how the eagle was doing and he said he had it at his house for a couple days and released it at my mother-in-law’s. It flew away without any issues.

As of this morning, December 10, 2018, the snowy owl was released in good health. Thank you Jyles!

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