First look at the sea ice melt for 2012...... Here's a chart for total ice in the arctic over the past few years.. The black line is the current levels for 2012 (only goes part way down, since we can't see into the future)
Notice how way back in late March the total ice was as high as any of the previous 6 years (not that it says much), but interesting to note... The weather patterns that gave us (in southern ON) a record warm winter, kept things quite cool in the north... Anyways, here's the same map, but for only sea Ice:
Pretty much similar to the above... Lots of ice early, yet by mid June we're at almost record low rates for the date... The Apr 17th to Jun 17th period looks pretty steep in the melt rate...
So what does it mean for birds? Not much... We're still running with the theory of birds "switching oceans" with the ice melting, but that's a very broad and generic wish for the most part.... But just for the heck of it, here's some maps from the same time of year, over the past few years: