It’s Groundhog Day! Did Birmingham Bill see his shadow?

Groundhog Day
The biggest day of the year for groundhogs everywhere. (Abigail Lynn)

Groundhog Day is a longstanding tradition that is said to “predict” our weather for the next few months. Legend has it that if the groundhog sees its shadow, we’re in for six more weeks of winter. But, if it doesn’t, spring is on the way. Read on to see what our Alabama groundhogs had to say.

Our local groundhog, Birmingham Bill

groundhog
Birmingham Bill in all his glory. (Birmingham Zoo)

Birmingham Bill is a favorite at The Birmingham Zoo. So, what did our hometown hero have to say? Well… nothing.

Birmingham Bill is still hibernating, and zoo staff decided to leave him be, much like last year. Rebekah Lane, a zoo manager at The Birmingham Zoo, weighed in on why it’s critical to let nature run its course.

“His name is Jamie Bill (or Birmingham Bill), and we let him decide if he would like to wake up for groundhogs day or not. Right now, he is still hibernating, so it is best for his system to continue to do so until he wakes up naturally. Groundhogs sometimes appear around February 2 to look for a mate, which is why they were used for weather predictions. Then they go back to sleep until around March. But it isn’t guaranteed that every individual will wake up that day. All different types of animals are used all around the world for weather predictions. Even here at the zoo, we have used different animals such as an opossum and owl for Groundhog’s Day during years that Jamie Bill was still asleep.”

— Rebekah Lane, Zoo Manager in Ambassador Animals, The Birmingham Zoo

What does Punxsutawney Phil have to say?

Arguably the most famous of the celebrity groundhogs is Punxsutawney Phil. He lives in his namesake town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

According to WGAL, Mr. Phil did in fact see his shadow early this morning in a live-streamed event, complete with period costumes and plenty of fanfare. Sorry sun lovers, that means winter is here to stay.

Smith Lake Jake weighs in…

Want more Alabama rodents to help you predict the weather? Smith Lake Jake made his call at Burritt Mountain on January 30.

According to Fox 54, Smith Lake Jake agrees with Punxsutawney Phil—we’re in for six more weeks of winter, so bundle up.

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Madison Croxson
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