About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

What happens when the groundhog sees his shadow?

According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will persist for six more weeks.

Groundhog Day has its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas Day in Europe, when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. There is an old European supposition that a sunny Candlemas day would lead the winter to last for another six weeks. Germans added to the tradition by passing along the lore that a hedgehog frightened by his shadow on Candlemas would foretell how much longer winter would last. Once German settlers came to Pennsylvania, the tradition was altered from hedgehogs to groundhogs, which were plentiful in the State.

For groundhogs popping out early is all about love. Groundhogs begin to hibernate in late fall, then wake up at the end of winter to look for a mate. The males survey their turf and make house-calls to female burrows as early as February. Once the male determines where his potential mates are, he returns to his burrow to sleep for another month or so until early March when it’s time to mate.

Related Articles:
What's the Difference Between a Groundhog & Woodchuck? http://bit.ly/z5FPoV
Singing Birds Herald The Arrival of Spring. http://bit.ly/uJbzCe
Love and the Birds: The Origin of St. Valentine's Day http://bit.ly/w5ra8B
Is hibernation more of a nightmare than a pleasant dream? http://bit.ly/y2OGr6
Origin of National Squirrel Appreciation Day! http://bit.ly/AhqkBg

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