I second the recommendation of the Peterson Field Guide. They are the best one for a beginner (like me) to use.
The USGS site is a decent one, but the Cornell ornithology site ( http://www.birds.cornell.edu/ ) is way better. The only downside is that's it's a subscriber site -- i.e. it ain't free.
I'd say check out the free info first, and then start shelling out dough if you're still interested. And since you're in Avalon, the other thing I would recommend is a trip or two down to the NJ Audubon Society in Cape May. They have walks and guided tours (and other stuff), and you can learn more in one guided tour than you will learn in six months on your own.