Two of Manitoba's famous nose-to-the-ground weather forecasters say spring will come early this year.

Winnipeg Willow, a groundhog who was found orphaned and with a broken leg and who now makes her home at the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, said Sunday the warmer weather will hit sooner rather than later.

Willow made the prognostication at Fort Whyte Alive.

She laid cuddled in an associate's arms while the PWRC's Melanie Ives spoke on her behalf.

"Today, Feb 2, 2014, Willow did not see her shadow," she said. "Therefore, she predicted an early spring."

MANitoba merv

Manitoba Merv at Oak Hammock Marsh flies the flag for an early spring, too. (Oak Hammock Marsh)

Manitoba Merv at Oak Hammock Marsh agreed.

Merv, who is even less animated than Willow [he's a puppet], did not see his shadow Sunday morning either, and is already looking forward to the return of Canada geese, another sign of winter's departure.

Across the country, furry forecasters are divided. 

But human forecasters are putting a damper on high hopes for a shortened winter. 

CBC meteorologist John Sauder said it's going to be colder for a while longer.