Punxsutawney Phil has been predicting the weather since 1887. The theory is, if Phil sees his shadow, we will have six more weeks of winter. Weather records don’t go back quite that far, but since records have been kept, Phil has predicted the spring weather accurately only about 36% of the time. According to the National Weather Service and other weather professionals, we have a better chance of predicting more accurately by flipping a coin, which would give us about a 50% accuracy rate. Given Phil’s percentage, it would be more accurate to ‘reverse’ his prediction, then we would have the correct spring outcome 64% of the time!
Woodchucks (commonly known as “groundhogs”) are hibernators that sleep in underground dens they line with grasses and leaves. The males wake up earlier than the females and will emerge even on winter days that warm the ground and surrounding air to get a head start on establishing territories and seeking emerging females. They will retreat to their dens for more sleep during cold spells and become more completely active in March and April once winter is mostly over and the green plants they love to eat begin to grow. Woodchucks love dandelion, clover and a variety of other broadleaf plants, seeds, nuts and berries.