Waddling out of Winter? Penguins stand in for Groundhog Day at Milwaukee County Zoo🐧

NOW: Waddling out of Winter? Penguins stand in for Groundhog Day at Milwaukee County Zoo🐧

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – The Milwaukee County Zoo saw a change of tradition this Groundhog Day.

Resident Groundhog, Gordy, passed away last March.

This year, different animal made a prediction, and we may be 'waddling' out of winter.

"We're celebrating Groundhog Day a little differently this year," said County Executive David Crowley.

The zoo instead counted on feathered forecasters for the special day.

"We were looking for a species that we can do outside, and something that would be very active, and the Humboldt penguins were our best bet," explained the Zoo's executive director, Amos Morris.

The zoo's 15 Humboldt penguins donned their best tuxedos to pay respect to a distinguished tradition.

"The penguins made a good show. They came out and spoke to us," Morris said.

The Zoo used the traditional model: If the penguins see their shadow, six more weeks of winter. If they don't, it signals an early spring.

With snow and cloudy skies, no shadows were in sight.

The ceremony made for a Groundhog Day so unique that Milwaukee County might be the first to do it.

"We're going to have to look into that. I think we got something going here," Morris laughed.

However, the penguins might be biased. They come from balmy South America, but swim in the cold Humboldt current.

"Most of the time they're in the water, but they do roost in the rocks," Morris explained.

The Milwaukee County Zoo is still looking for a new groundhog, so plans are up in the air for next year.

"In the interim, we're going to hopefully still work with the penguins," Morris said. "We've got a creative team, they might thing of another species we can throw out there for Groundhog Day."

Sign up for the CBS 58 Newsletter

Share this article: