The seasonal prediction occurred this morning as Alberta’s own Balzac Billy awoke at the Blue Grass Nursery and Garden Centre.
The rodent awoke from hibernation at 8:13 a.m. at the annual Groundhog’s Breakfast, and predicted an early spring for Alberta.
Cheers followed the animal as he awoke without seeing his shadow, and continued to stretch his underused legs.
North America’s other two groundhogs, Wiarton Willie from Ontario and Punxsutawney Phil from Pennsylvania, both predict a long winter for the eastern side of the continent.
This is the second year the weather prognosticator saw his shadow, and predicted a nice long winter.
In Alberta, Billy is actually not a groundhog, but still makes the annual prediction for the province.
Balzac Billy is actually a Richardson Ground Squirrel, a common species found throughout Alberta.
Groundhog Day derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition. It is believed if a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day sees a shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks, and if he does not, due to cloudiness, spring season will arrive early.