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My use of a monopod is dependent on how far I'm hiking. I use my 600 almost exclusively for birding, and I'm an equally avid birder, so I'm often hoping to see the bird. That often involves looking through my spotting scope. It's very nice to have the tripod where I can leave the camera by itself and not have to try to find a safe place to set it down, especially if I'm on the beach looking at gulls up close or distant birds on Lake Michigan. That said, I've usually thought the monopod would be equally effective in most of the bird photography I would do if that were the only thing I were attempting to do.
Where I've found the tripod to be invaluable is using live view on stationary birds. I've found that I don't always get absolutely precise focus when trusting the AF by itself and using live view allows for that.
Here are a couple recent shots with my 600 and 7D.
This is only the 6th or 7th record of a Say's Phoebe in Indiana:
This is the first state record Calliope Hummingbird in Indiana: (ISO 1600, f/6.3, 1/125)
1/800 5.6 ISO 200