LOL. Good one.
Humor aside, resolution is resolution. It is a rather simple spatial construct. Assuming you did not take care to address the *needs* of the 7D, sure, it is highly unlikely you'll realize the full 2.21x resolution benefit the 7D has to offer. However, that does not change the fact that the 7D DOES offer that benefit, and when you use a good lens, with solid 4-stop IS, and/or a stable tripod, the chances of realizing a close approach to that 2.21x resolution benefit are very good. If we take the moon as an example, I always set up my tripod as low as it will go, with legs out wide for maximum stability, on windless nights whenever possible, and I use a wireless shutter release with mirror lockup to actually take the photo. Assuming I photograph the moon high in the sky on dry nights when it is center of the lens, I believe I can easily realize around 2x of that 2.21x reach benefit.
If you don't think you can, or don't care to, properly utilize the tools in hand, you should probably be using different tools. It is definitely easier to get "sharp" photos with a FF sensor that has larger pixels. That just follows the line of reasoning regarding pixel size, the diffraction limit of the sensor, and the effects of camera shake.
What you just described is a better description of landscape photography than wildlife photography. Really it is, it is moonscape photography. Actually the only time I did use the 7D after I bought the 1D IV was for taking pictures of the moon.
Remember we are talking wildlife photography. If you are setting up posed pictures on posed roosts at your back yard bird feeder you can incorporate some of what you say. Probably you will not be using mirror up or a wireless release but you might. But there are other levels of wildlife photography. Wildlife photography photographs wild things, they do not always cooperate in such a clinical manner. There are times a person might be shooting off a tripod, times when they might be shooting hand held at BIF or shooting in low light situations. Now, were any of those methods "not properly utilizing the tool in hand"? The resolution benefit decreases in real life situations, and the other benefits that the 7D offer the wildlife photographers are far greater than this one. But, how does one really quantify how much better, I just think if we base our opinions on the actual numbers we know (1.6x or 2.21x) we deceive ourselves.
I was thinking about this as well, if the 5D III AF system is as accurate as the 1D series bodies it would be a far better choice. The 7D and 5D II AF systems are not as accurate and precise as the 1D x or IV. You can have all the sensor resolution you want, if the AF system is more accurate it will give you better resolution because it is more precise in its focus. I haven't had the opportunity to try the 5D III yet, it would be fun to compare.
Well, it depends on how you conduct your photography. As a bird and wildlife photographer myself, I use a tripod frequently. The only times when I'm not using a tripod, or a ground pod, or a bean bag in my car, is when I'm tracking something that is moving pretty quickly, like a bird in flight, or an elk chasing down a rival. I just went out yesterday, and photographed some migrating Long-Billed Dowitchers. I spent most of the time laying down in wet, silty sand, with my camera resting on my outstretched arm (and the camera battery grip resting on the ground behind my arm:
The image above is slightly softer than the one below, thanks to the fact that it was taken with a lens, the 100-400 L IS, that doesn't match the capabilities of the 7D. I did much the same thing as with the photo a number of weeks back, photographing some Sandpipers:
The photo above is quite a bit sharper, as it was taken with the 300mm f/2.8 L II IS + 2x TC III (600mm combo, far sharper than the 100-400). When I utilized the right tools the right way, the results were better. Both results are great, thanks to the fact that I wasn't just plain-old hand-holding the lens, which would have certainly reduced the resolution of both shots. I put as much stabilization behind both as I possibly could, because that's how you maximize the potential of a piece of gear like the 7D.
Now, while I completely agree that basing all of our decisions, such as purchasing, purely off of numbers is a bad idea, I disagree that the numbers are meaningless. A valid number tells you what your hardware is capable of in the best of circumstances. In the case of the 7D, it is possible to get as much as 2.2x the reach as a 5D II (or III, for that matter), r 2.6x the reach of a 1D X. In the case of Nikon cameras with high dynamic range like the D800, you can get around 13.2 stops of DR, vs. around 11 stops of DR for the 5D II, 5D III, the 7D and I would figure the 1D X. I would never base my purchasing decisions off of what DXO says, however I most definitely DO reference their "Screen" scores to learn what the hardware I already own is capable of, and where there might be room for improvement (from an IQ perspective anyway.)
All that said, obviously there is functionality well beyond the scope of the sensor that usually ends up being far more significant to one's decisions. I'd never argue that the 7D's AF system could beat a 5D III or 1D X. Neither would I claim the 7D framerate was more useful than the 1D X's frame rate, or ISO for that matter. I'd give up my 7D in a split second if someone offered me a 1D X, regardless of the 2.6x resolution/reach benefit it has over the latter.
None of that changes the fact that the 7D DOES have oodles of spatial resolution, and you can utilize most of it if you aim to