In the old days folks back east attached quite some significance to the activities of the Groundhog on February second. He was indeed the "man of the hour".
Here in the Park we cannot boast of a groundhog. Yet a cousin of the groundhog is numbered among our mammals -- the Whistling Marmet which is so numerous in the sub-alpine meadows between 5000 and 6500 feet in elevation. There in the summer and fall they are often seen about their burrows in the hillsides or in the talus slopes. But, even though the groundhog had not lost caste as a weather man, we could not depend upon the Marmet to forecast for us. The high sub-alpine meadows are still in the grip of winter at this time -- in fact in many years this month is the most wintry of all, and it is not until middle or late June until the Marmet emerges from his burrow after shaking off the effects of hibernation.
Park visitors in the fall of the year are impressed by the great size of these Whistling Marmets. And the reason for their great size is that they have simply been eating themselves fat in preparation for winter. They waddle about eating as much herbacious vegetation as it is possible for early in September they turn in for the winter. Like the bears they hibernate -- though for a much longer period.
And so while the groundhog back east may make some futile attempts to regain some of his reputation as a weather prophet our Marmet cares little if anything about the weather or the prospects for the immediate future.
which appeared in recent magazines which may prove of interest to you.
BIRDS OF THE BREAD LINE. Fannie Hoyt. Nature Magazine. (Jan,1931).
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