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In the song "Separator" by Radiohead, this is a line in the chorus:

Falling off the giant bird that's been carrying me
https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858860818/

This is an oddly specific image. Is it a reference to something else?

Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube.

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The surface meaning, as provided directly in the lyrics, is that this is dream imagery, perhaps inspired by an actual dream of one of the songwriters:

It's like I'm fallen out of bed
From a long, weary dream
The sweetest flowers and fruits are hanging from trees
Falling off the giant bird that's been carrying me
It's like I've fallen out of bed
From a long and vivid dream
Just exactly as I remember

Every word
Every gesture

The most familiar giant birds I know from popular culture are the "rocs" from Sinbad the Sailor. "Giant bird" is also a relatively common metaphor for an airplane. But neither matches the other imagery connected with the bird here --the flowers and fruits, or the fish out of water.

So for that reason, I'm going with the obvious explanation here --this is real or invented dream imagery. According to an online source I found, a dream of a giant bird means:

...The power of the collective mind or unconscious. It may uplift or be felt as threatening; something that can protect or be felt as a threat... Big birds often appear in dreams and the huge bird in the house means contact with a lesser used ability you have, one of being able to have a wider view of who you are and the world you live in. But it is also an invitation to learn to fly with or separate from the bird. You can learn to fly; it is a great way of overcoming fears. https://dreamhawk.com/dream-dictionary/bird-birds/

It's perhaps notable that the song is called "Separator." If we run with this interpretation, perhaps Radiohead has been carried along by the collective unconscious, but now they want to "separate" from it. The album it is from, The King of Limbs, did indeed represent a change of direction for the band.

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