If it makes you feel any better, Birdland is a hard 5.8. And it used to be rated 5.9. So there ya go.
There are two cruxes -- at the bottom and the one at the flake you mentioned. One good nut at the second crux is all you really need to protect the move.
It's really not that hard to protect ... so here comes my gentle admonishment ... you should try to hone your leading skills a bit more the next time you're out on a lead at your current max level.
That second Birdland crux is not particularly hard to climb or protect. It's also possible to downclimb to a rest after working the pro or sussing the moves. As you climb harder routes in the Gunks you're going to be doing a lot more downclimbing. Cause you'll be doing the typical Gunks roof dance. Up to look for gear placements, down to rest, up to try some gear, down to rest, up to get the piece in bomber, down to rest, up to suss out the move, down to rest ... and finally ... up to do or fly. So in addition to focusing on your gear skills, I'd recommend also getting into some endurance work outs at your local gym or boulders. You'll need much longer hang time if you progress into the 5.9 range and harder.
If I've come across as some old grumpy ass climbing Nazi, sorry about that.