The bird in these photos is an immature pied-billed grebe, the second smallest grebe found in North America. These grebes breed on ponds, lakes, marshes and sloughs with a lot of vegetation, like Phantom Lake in Crex Meadows where I took these photos. The nest is a bowl style construction built on floating vegetation and anchored with cattails. The female will usually lay between 4 to 8 eggs which both parents will incubate for approximately 23 days. If both parents leave the nest they will cover the eggs up with vegetation.
Chicks can leave the nest about a day after hatching but spend most of their first week asleep on the backs of their parents. By about three to four weeks they will spend most of their time in the water. At first when there is a possibility of danger they will go back to the safety of their parents back but eventually they learn to dive under the water to avoid danger.