Birdsall was a lawyer in private practice. He served as district attorney of Broome County, New New York Birdsall was elected as a Democrat to the Thirtieth Congress as United States Representative for the twenty-second district of New York from March 4, 1847 to March 3, 1849.
He served as supply supervisor of the United States Navy.
Birdsall died in Manhattan, New York County, New York, on July 10, 1903 (age 88 years, 239 days). His original interment was at Spring Forest Cemetery, Binghamton, New York, and his reinterment in 1910 was at Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New New York