The annual Christmas Bird Count is underway, but so are proposed regulations for gun owners in America.

Well, a new year is here, and it’s time once again for my fearless predictions for the coming year. It’s always fun, and I’m always right (because I cheat, but just a little). 

The National Audubon Society's 116th annual Christmas Bird Count is underway, and the results from this year should be quite a collection of data. The recent warm weather put a screeching halt on for a lot of migratory birds. Then during the last few days, seasonable temperatures finally returned and some birds resumed their southward journey. But other migrants are sitting tight.

Every winter, folks participate in bird-counting events all across North America. It runs from mid-December through Jan. 5. They collect data on bird migrations for the National Audubon Society. This event is the longest-running wildlife census in the United States. Data from the counts give scientists insight into birds’ migratory movements that researchers would never otherwise have, such as how bird ranges have been shifting over time. 

So this prediction is relatively easy. I believe this year’s count in our area will include lots of bird species that are normally far to the south by Christmas. It will also include lots of species that should be in this area at this time. So don’t be surprised if watchers report robins, catbirds and mockingbirds as well as Canada geese, snow geese and loons.

Oh, and do not expect to see too many snowy owls this year. In the past, sighting one of these magnificent birds was always considered a highlight. But the warm December temps and cold air locked far up in Canada will no doubt keep those birds north of our area until we do get a stretch of colder weather with some snow cover.

And here is a trivia “Did You Know” item. There were 22 snowy owl sightings inside New York City during the winter of 2014. And one was observed wintering on the island of Bermuda. (It was a male bird, and obviously didn’t listen to the wife’s instructions to turn right, not left.)

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Prediction No. 2 is another easy one, and I suspect it will cause even more gray hairs on the heads of bowhunters. I predict that Crosman Corp. in Bloomfield will market an arrow-shooting “gun” that looks a little like a short, fat shotgun. (Oh, alright, I cheated again because that company just this past week announced its creation, and it does look interesting.)

It’s called the “Pioneer Airbow,” and it definitely is in a class by itself. It generates more speed and energy than any crossbow, yet is safer and easier to operate. The key is the 3,000 PSI air pressure in its tank that delivers eight consistent shots using full-length arrows. Velocity is around 450 FPS, it uses a conventional trigger, and the cocking mechanism takes only two pounds of pressure to engage.

According to Chip Hunnicutt, Marketing Manager at Crosman, all of these innovations mean that “anyone, regardless of size or strength, can handle the Pioneer. ” And, it is especially safe for tree-stand use. Arrows stabilize quickly, giving shooters an expanded kill range for wild game. And the cocking lever, which can be operated with only two fingers, can be de-cocked easily, too. 

This package includes three 375 grain carbon fiber arrows with nano-ceramic Victory Ice coating for increased speed, penetration and easier retrieval. Field tips are included. The Pioneer also includes a CenterPoint 6X40 mm optic with a custom MTAG reticle that offers aiming points out to 75 yards. And there is a custom sling and quick-detach quiver.

The Pioneer Airbow, under the premier hunting label of Benjamin Airguns, will be available this spring with a MSRP of $849. For additional information, go to crosman.com or contact Chip Hunnicutt by mail at Crosman Corporation, 7629 Routes 5&20, Bloomfield, NY, 14469.

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I also predict that NY gun owners will face many challenges, especially during the next year. We will be facing direct threats from both the Cuomo and Obama administrations, mostly in the form of increased regulations. And from what I have heard, some of those proposed regs are so stupid that they defy all forms of common sense.

For example, one state legislator is putting forth a proposed bill that would limit ammunition purchases to twice what a weapon would hold, that could lawfully be purchased every three months. In other words, a person owning a 6-shot revolver would only be allowed to buy 12 rounds of ammo every 90 days. Her reasoning? This would prevent terrorists from “stocking up” on ammo.

There is also a good chance that President Obama will order all federal agencies with military or police authority to purchase incredible quantities of ammunition. His reasoning? This would cause a crash in ammunition available for purchase by civilians. And anyone who remembers the “ammo shortage” experienced just a few years ago (also under the Obama administration) or the billions of rounds of ammo ordered by various federal agencies knows exactly what I am saying here.

I’ve heard there is a lot more bad news in the pipeline that is headed toward all gun owners. It almost seems that anyone who owns a gun of any kind will eventually be classified alongside terrorists and criminals if our legislators, who I believe are supposed to protect the rights of the people, get their way. Yes folks, this is just another example of urban-minded bureaucrats telling all of us just why we are a danger to ourselves. Go figure.

Len Lisenbee is the Daily Messenger’s Outdoors columnist. Contact him at lisenbee@frontiernet. net.