Burns didn’t shoot it. He didn’t net it or trap it. He didn’t even pick it up from under a plate glass window.
A large black and white cat was seen along the fence of a pasture field, with something in her mouth…. It proved to be an [adult Henslow’s sparrow] in excellent plumage, with the exception of the primaries and secondaries, which were scarcely three-fourths grown. This, together with its extreme fatness, rendered it an easy victim to tabby.
We know that Burns skinned the bird. The fate of the cat is less certain.