Year-round feeding of garden birds is now recommended, as even in more rural areas of the UK the level of natural foods, and notably invertebrates including flying insects,has dropped significantly. It’s really more a question of what you feed at certain times of the year and in what quantity - more info here.
The main types of bird food are straight seeds such as black sunflower, seed mixes, peanuts, suet products and live foods such as mealworms.
All the bird foods we supply from Vine House Farm are high quality. However, this is not the case with all bird foods on the market, and it's important to avoid cheap seed mixes which may appear good value but generally contain 'fillers' such as pulses and even broken-up dog biscuit!
The same is also true of cheap suet products and in particular fat balls, with some containing very little fat but instead fillers including sawdust. Cheap peanuts should also be avoided. These types of low quality products have much less nutritional benefit to garden birds, can be very harmful, and may not be eaten anyway – instead just creating waste and potential disease as they rot down. So rule number one: only buy high quality bird food from a brand you can trust