Sightings like yours aren't too common (I've only seen pygmy owls maybe a half dozen times versus hearing them hundreds and hundreds of times). But if you learn your owl calls and keep your ears open, you realize that owls are everywhere. During spring and summer, I hear pygmy owls calling during daytime on probably 90% of my hikes in wooded areas in northern AZ. And when I camp, I'd guess that I hear owls calling at night well over half the time, again mainly in spring and summer. Some owls call all year. I heard a spotted owl a couple of weeks ago near Flagstaff.
I could tell you some stories about owl bites. Suffice to say, wear gloves when you handle a boreal owl. They bite way above their weight.