A sparrow knocked over 23,000 dominoes in the Netherlands, nearly ruining a world record attempt before it was shot to death Monday, the state news agency reported.

The unfortunate bird flew through an open window at an exposition center in the northern city of Leeuwarden where employees of television company Endemol NV have worked for weeks setting up more than 4 million dominoes in an attempt to break the official Guinness World Record for falling dominoes on Friday night.

Only a system of 750 built-in gaps in the chain prevented the bird from knocking most or all of the dominoes over ahead of schedule, "Domino Day" organizers were quoted as saying by the NOS news agency.

The bird was shot by an exterminator with an air rifle while cowering in a corner.

The organizers are out to break their own record of 3,992,397 dominoes set last year with a new record of 4,321,000.