Inbred birds pillaging my plants

During the last few weeks, basically after we left the coldest part of the year, for the first time ever some inbred bird decided that its daily breakfast has to be found digging deep inside my plants vases.
I have no clue what it’s looking for, but nearly every morning I walk to my balcony and find a massive hole in one of my vases, with plants roots being visibly exposed and/or damaged. Sometimes I find small plants plucked out from the soil or cut in half.
Birds that are common around here are:

a) Swallows: they’ve just come back for nesting but they aren’t known for digging food, they hover on rice fields and catch flying trash
b) Sparrows: they’re often on my balcony, chilling, pooping and finding shelter from the rain, I’ve never seen them digging, and if a sparrow is digging it’s basically digging deep and wide enough to fit its whole body
c) Mina: plenty of them around here though I’ve never seen one landing on my balcony or fooling around with my plants

Any suggestion on how to protect my plants? So far I’ve lost several small basil plants, a lajiao that had just started to grow and a plant that I had no idea what it was. I’d prefer a deterring solution, but if unbridled violence is the only solution so be it.

Hire a porch cat?

My balcony is really tiny, not enough spare for a cat to fool around…feelsbadman

Perhaps you could put up a false owl or other predator. Consult your local taxidermist. I know that might sound a bit stupid but if scarecrows work…

There are bird deterrents. What I don’t know is how well they work… you need to make sure that the sound emitted by the device is audible by the birds in question. Now I come to think that you could install some motion sensor that triggers a recorded sound like a cat or a dog or a tiger if needed.

Consider a strawman too. If you don’t have one, have a discussion with a SJW nutter and you’ll get some.

I could try that first… There are some cute ones with a tiny animal that spins around with the wind, they’d look cool on my plants and hopefully the moron bird that digs in my plants will not like them.

I wonder what a Taiwanese sparrow would think when hearing the found of a tiger for the first time.
Motion sensor stuff is a bit too high tech for me…maybe I’ll start with scarestrawman and see how things work.
Would a net placed on the soil help? Not to catch the bird, just to make it think that digging is too much a hassle.

I’m sure there are simple enough DIY kits and tutorials.

Sparrows will think get the heck out of here.

Yeah people use nets and plastics for plants and fruit.