There is a belief in my area that it is not healthy for humans to sleep under a walnut tree.

Is this valid for birds too? Is it harmful for birds to live in a bird house hanging on a walnut tree?

3 Answers 3


Allowing your birds to live hanging from a walnut tree is actually an excellent idea.

Walnuts are among the many favorite nuts of backyard birds. Some others include peanuts, acorns, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, pine nuts and even macadamias. Several sources agree that nut trees are specifically recommended as plants to attract birds into your yard, including for breeding.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology is one of the most respected bird study and conservation organizations in the world. Their article entitled Seven Important Plant Groups lists ways to adjust your landscaping to encourage the largest number and variety of birds throughout the seasons.

Nuts are one of those important plant groups, and nut trees are specifically recommended for nesting.

Nut and Acorn Plants:
Oaks, hickories, buckeyes, chestnuts, butternuts, walnuts, beeches, and hazels provide food for titmice, jays, turkeys, Acorn and Red-headed woodpeckers, and other “mast-eaters,” and insects drawn to their spring flowers provide abundant food to fuel spring migration.

These trees also provide nesting habitat for many species.

Other sources recommend nut trees for food and also for shelter.

Consider planting nut-bearing trees or bushes in your yard for a natural, renewable food source, as well as doubling as good shelter birds can use even if the nuts aren’t mature. Source.

I would certainly assume that bird houses are safe near any tree where nesting, shelter and feeding are encouraged. If I were you, I'd go right ahead and put up the bird house!


It's likely to be painful if a walnut falls on you, and if you're asleep, you won't be able to avoid them. So, a reasonable suggestion to not sleep under a walnut tree.

As for a bird house as long as it's got a roof that will protect any chicks I don't see an issue apart from being struck in flight. Walnuts are also listed as bird healthy

  • 1
    Yup, you said what I wanted to say, Graham! I think people should know that this walnut toxicity is more relevant in the wood shops. Walnut gets sawed and worked with the carpenter has to wear a mask and gloves, long sleeves. After the walnut project they have to clean up all the sawdust and blades before starting a new project. Yes? Won't keep me from climbing an old walnut tree or taking a nap beneath...
    – stormy
    Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 6:17

Walnut leaves when they fall off the tree in autumn can when beginning to rot down- give out a poison- its not toxic to us or birds as far as I know, however it can suppress weed growth and even kill off areas of grass under a tree. many trees and shrubs do the same thing- anything like oaks to rhododendrons all do the same- with varying results- the latter can take years to wash out of the soil. I suppose it must be a survival thing for the species to stop competition and allow itself to grow- its quite normal. However I wouldn't put too many leaves in one go on your compost heap as the resulting compost could possibly have the same effect- and damage other plants when spread around. But that's the only case of a walnut being dangerous to anything.

  • My question is about bird houses within walnut trees, and not about walnut leaves in the compost.
    – VividD
    Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 16:43

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