Winnipeg Willow and Manitoba Merv weren’t able to find their shadows on Monday, signalling spring is just around the corner.
The annual Groundhog Day traditions took place at Cabela’s on Sterling Lyon Parkway and Oak Hammock Marsh, respectively. However, Manitoba Merv is only a puppet, so the real story is whether his handler saw his/her own shadow.
“A wonderful prediction from Winnipeg Willow! Her very active winter behaviour predicts an early spring despite the cloudy weather,” the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre said on Facebook.
But it sure won’t feel like spring today, with Environment Canada forecasting a high of -17°C.
Manitoba’s unofficial groundhog came out of his burrow on Sunday, looked around briefly, but wasn’t able to see his shadow.
Manitoba Merv made his annual appearance bright and early at Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre.
In spite of a cold and snowy winter, Manitobans will have an early spring this year, according to the groundhog.
“As Merv hurried back to his den he assured us that spring will come sooner rather than later and he expects the geese to officially mark the arrival of spring,” Jacques Bourgeois of Oak Hammock Marsh said.
Sunday also marks World Wetlands Day at the Marsh — a celebration of the importance of wetlands around the world.
Winnipeg Willow, the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre’s groundhog, also predicted we’re in store for an early spring.
Will Manitoba see six more weeks of winter or are we in for an early spring?
“Winnipeg Willow” will visit Mountain Equipment Co-op (303 Portage Avenue) on Saturday for Groundhog Day. Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre will bring Willow to make her annual prediction, along with an American Kestrel.
Several Groundhog Day activities will be available for children as they meet this local furry celebrity.
The free festivities will run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Praire Wildlife will be back on Sunday, February 3, from noon to 4 p.m. with a burrowing owl and peregrine falcon.
Last year, Willow predicted winter would last for another six weeks, while the province’s other groundhog, Manitoba Merv, said an early spring was on the way.
In what may seem like a gifted winter with these mild temperatures lately, it’s about to get a whole lot better.
Manitoba Merv — the province’s unofficial groundhog — didn’t see his shadow Thursday morning at Oak Hammock Marsh just north of Winnipeg. That means we’re in store for an early spring.
“He looked and looked and looked some more but no shadow was seen,” the Marsh said.
However, Willow the Woodchuck at The Forks called for six more weeks of winter after making her prediction shortly after 8 a.m.
In the U.S., Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania also predicted winter will stick around a while longer, but the decision didn’t come without controversy. People started booing Phil, as the only lights present were from TV cameras.