For as avian rich as Eastern New York is with neotropical species in summer and high arctic visitors in winter, there are a number of species which have been driven out of our area, but are by no means extinct.
The reasons for the extirpation of these species is variable, most likely is either habitat destruction or competition from other species.
The most recent species to leave our region (and some still hold out hope there are a few around, myself included) is Barn Owl. This species was never very common in the region, but occurred in many areas, from the inner cities to farms. Now Barn Owl has faced the same issues it has in many areas of the world, mostly being misunderstood by farmers who frequently poisoned them, either unintentionally or intentionally, but I can’t see that as the only reason for their decline. But for a species that is well adapted to humans, it is somewhat baffling as to why this species declined as quickly as it did, with no solid breeding records since the early 1980′s. Currently there are efforts by several organizations to improve and create habitat suitable for Barn Owls, particularly in Columbia County, but so far it has not worked. Barn Owl is a species I believe could be re-introduced into the region, even though a similar effort near Buffalo, NY several years ago was not successful.
(Maps Courtesy of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation)