Operation; Pavlov’s Crows part 1

Everyone has at least once heard in school of Pavlov’s dogs, if not click on THIS. I am here to introduce you to a world-wide experiment that you can be a part of, interested? Read on.

My name is Almira Osmanovic Thunström, and I need you on my research team!

I have always been convinced that we are too presumptuous about the higher level executive functions of other creatures or popularly known “intelligence”. But in later years it seems as if my conviction has reached scientific interest and new observational technologies have given us human-animals an insight to our co-habitants of this planet.

We have learned that most species have an ability to plan ahead and even think in abstract ways, most prominent examples can be seen in dolphins, squids and crows who seem to exhibit higher forms of logic. Now crows are special to my heart since they are not only beautiful in mythology they are excellent subjects for anthropology and science.

If you want to learn more about the scientific methods used in the research of  “crow intelligence” click HERE.

I myself have discovered something grand, that the scientist in me wishes to investigate (confirm or falsify). I choose to call it Operation Pavlov’s Crows. I am not a behaviorist and I do not believe that it is a simple case of conditioning but the situation is so similar that the name fits perfectly, my husband Patrik’s suggestion.

OBSERVATION: Each morning I wait for the commute train to Stockholm Center. The train comes every 15 minutes. Surrounding the station are fences. The boards telling the time give a distinct and loud “pling” sound (PLING) exactly 4 minutes before the train arrives and 10 seconds before the train arrives. When the train “PLINGS” a group of crows fly to the platform. They scatter around looking for food. People drop pieces of sandwiches, icecream-wrappers etc, the crows pick up the rests. The second “PLING” comes and they disappear only to return for a few seconds after it leaves (more things have been dropped). They they leave the platform for the trees outside, they repeat this.

HYPOTHESIS; They have learned that the first “PLING” will make people rush to the platform, people + food = spilled food and things to pick off the ground. Second “PLING” they have interpreted as “get away, loads of people stomping towards the train” and the train leaving is an excellent time to pick up anything dropped by those hurrying in to the train unable to rush to the garbage can.

Unforunatley, my first try is broken since someone decided to feed the entire area worth of wildlife near the station.

EXPERIMENT; To capture this phenomenon on film. (I have only began this procedure, so before I publish I want as many co-scientist to confirm as possible)

So are you in? This is what you need to do.

METHOD: Find a train station with a distinct “PLING” sound. Make sure that the “PLING” sound is at least 4 minutes prior to train arrival but no longer than 10.  Observe if any crows come to the platform withing a minute of the first “PLING” sound. The platform should be empty of crows prior to that. If crows are at the platform before or during the “PLING” the observations is not significant for this study.

MATERIAL: A camera, a train station and patience.

WHAT TO DO WITH THE VIDEO CLIP?: Once you have a video clip of this phenomena, make a video, introduce yourself in the begining, and send to thedemarcationproblem@gmail.com

I hope this experiment will reach as many as possible so that we may have as many confirming clips. A composition of all clips will be made along with a list of contributing scientists. So please, spread the word or join.

Part 2 will be the actual video of the event I hope and Part 3 a joint effort.

Stockholm April 5th 2010

Almira Osmanovic Thunström



  1. Heej =D! Vad kul att vi har djurmedvetenhet som gemensamt intresse! Jag tänker också forska inom det! Vi kan väl hålla kontakten!?
    Jenny, från Sharea 🙂

  2. […] as I have written previously I hypothesized that the crows in my area (or the entire area of Stockholm) had formed a strategy for […]

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