I recorded this song in the neighborhood this morning, but was not able to see the bird (it seemed to be hanging out in a patch of trees, first in a large alder, then in some nearby conifers). I heard it still singing later in the morning and then thought it might be a Yellow Warbler (still not sighting), but now that I’ve had a chance to review what Yellow Warblers sound like, I’m thinking not.
So maybe I’m just having a mental block and forgetting a song I’ve heard before, but not for a while, or maybe this is an atypical bird for here (perhaps a different species, or a different song). I would be happy to get some help if you know what it is.
I was able to refind the bird, and this time I got a very brief glance of what I thought was the bird – enough to tell that it was warbler sized and mostly black and white underneath. I was able to follow it to another location not far way, where it continued singing (though much more quietly). I got a glimpse of a Yellow-rumped Warbler, but not at the same time as I heard the singing. Still, it was enough to lead me in that direction.
Part of the reason I did not previously consider Yellow-rumped Warbler is that I just chased one down a couple of days ago and its song was distinctly different sounding. I’ve added the only (very brief) clip I got of the bird the other day for comparison.
After listening to a couple of different clips, it seems there is enough variation to encompass both songs as Yellow-rumped Warbler songs. There are two types of Yellow-rumped Warbler (formerly considered separate species), and Southeast Alaska seems to be mostly Myrtle’s or mixed, as I understand it. Perhaps some of the difference in song relates to the different types. In any case, Yellow-rumped Warblers are not very common around Sitka, and I don’t know that I’ve noticed them singing more than a handful of times – so that’s probably why the didn’t sound familiar to me. After this experience, perhaps next time I’ll recognize it.