A bad weather morning leads Dunkirk Dave to predict spring weather is on its way.
The weather forecast lately has been like the movie "Groundhog Day," with snow day after day. However, on Feb. 2 a local celebrity groundhog emerged from hibernation to give his seasonal prognostication.
Dunkirk Dave didn't see his shadow Wednesday morning, which according to legend means we can expect an early spring.
Dunkirk Dave's Prediction
After a morning of sleet, Dunkirk Dave's prognostication is welcome news.
According to Bob Will, Dunkirk Dave's caretaker, it is the first year that it has rained on Groundhog Day that he can remember. The inclement weather led Will to need an umbrella, but not so that Dave wouldn't see his shadow.
"I would have been soaked through, so I asked for an umbrella, but not to make spring come early," Will assured.
OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
Handsome single groundhog, 1 foot tall, brown fur and eyes, looking for an elusive shadow, but doesn’t see it. Pictured is the locally famous groundhog, Dunkirk Dave, and his caretaker, Bob Will.
Dunkirk Dave's rival Punxsutawney Phil has also predicted an early spring.
"Groundhogs don't predict the season; spring the season, comes at the same time every year. Dunkirk Dave is just predicting spring-time weather is coming early this year," Will explained.
The groundhog is the only animal to have a national holiday in the United States. Dunkirk Dave has been predicting spring's arrival for 58 years now. Dave has predicted an early spring every year since 2007.
Groundhog Day on Feb. 2 marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.
The superstition surrounding Groundhog Day comes from the German belief that the weather on Candlemas, Feb. 2, can predict the coming season.
Aside from that, Groundhog Day falls very close to the time when groundhogs and other critters naturally emerge from hibernation in the second week of February.
When groundhogs, or woodchucks, emerge from their dens in spring, they usually look thinner than when they went in.
Groundhogs, unlike humans, gain their "holiday weight" in the summer and then in the winter, when many humans are trying to avoid gaining weight, groundhogs lose up to half of their body weight during hibernation.
Will's groundhogs come inside for the winter, but some still hibernate.
What do you call a groundhog that eats too much? A roundhog.
Will said that groundhogs weigh between 3 and 10 pounds and love eating fruits and veggies. Will reported Dunkirk Dave's favorite treats are carrots, broccoli, corn-on-the-cob and a granola bar for dessert.
Will is a wildlife rehabilitator and only keeps the animals not fit to return to the wild. He, along with Will Verge, a groundhog handler, care for sick and injured small mammals year-round.
For more information on Dunkirk Dave visit his website www.dunkirkdave.com.